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REAL Couples – REAL Issues – REAL solutions.

This blog is in a series inspired by real conversations between real couples preparing for marriage. The words they have spoken were inspired by using one of the guided conversations that comes from a self-guided course available at

STEP ONE: How do we define our issue?   

Neither of us likes to bring up issues.

STEP TWO: Why is this important to me/us?

Bride:  If we keep things to ourselves they can get worse. We want to be able to resolve things faster so we can address them before they’re too big. I know that I need time and space to think through things to make sure I don’t say anything I’d regret so I can maybe communicate that I’m taking time to think about something, but talk it through with you the next day or at a planned time.

Groom:  I feel like I am being ambushed or ambushing you when we bring up issues. I think we need to be able to discuss our feelings more openly. I often don’t bring up issues because I usually feel like in the end, I’m wrong.

Bride’s Feelings:  hopeful, willing, guilty, uncomfortable, tired, depressed, threatened, confused, frustrated, lonely, determined, motivated, afraid, timid, unsure

Groom’s Feelings: guilty, uncomfortable, tense, tired, angry, weak, foolish, powerless, lonely, overwhelmed

STEP THREE: What will a better future look like for us?

Bride: I’ll feel closer to you if we can figure out a good way to deal with this and feel more understood myself, may proud. I want to see what would work for you and have scheduled chats and think about key words to describe the issue. I would hope you would let me know how I can make sure that you don’t feel like you are in the wrong at the end of every chat. I need to remember that working through issues makes us better and prevents the issues from happening again. I think it will make us understand each other better. We might write each other notes when something bothers us using key words to describe it. I think overall we both need to fell safe in bringing things up.

Groom: I would hope we would both be more willing to have conversations earlier. I would hope you would respond to me instead of giving me silence, even if you just say, “I am thinking.” We both need to how to talk instead of holding things in and have better communication upfront.

STEP FOUR: What are our best ideas?

Idea One:   Bring things up sooner.

Idea Two:  Write out feelings after initial conversations to share.

STEP FIVE: What will I/we actually do?

Bride: I will make sure to bring it ups and write out my feelings to try to use that tactic. I will avoid personal attacks and try to understand your point of view and realize that we’re the same team.

Groom: I will hold back initial feelings and take time to write a concise and logical note about the issue. We’ll both avoid personal attacks and try to understand the other person’s point of view. We are on the same team.

STEP SIX: How will we know that we’re making progress?

We won’t feel like we did something wrong at the end of our conversations and issues will be easier for us to talk about.