Dare to change
When you started learning to drive, you probably felt overwhelmed and awkward, and you may have veered all over the road at first. Learning to steer your conversations will at first feel much the same, but don’t get discouraged: With practice, you will get better.
And if, in spite of your best efforts, your conversations get too explosive, or you need help figuring out exactly what is bothering you, consider seeking professional help. A couples or individual counselor can provide a safe environment for sorting out problems and discussing difficult topics. Your community’s mental health association, your physician, the Yellow Pages, and online searches can lead you to qualified professionals in your area.
Keep in mind that you really can’t make an irreparable mistake. If a conversation goes off course, circle back and try it again. Your goal is not to do it right but to do it differently: to speak as honestly as you can, and to be open to compromise. With patience, persistence, and pats on your own back, you’ll soon be able to smooth out the bumps in your relationship as they come up, rather than let them build over time into major roadblocks.