Difficult Conversations with Deep Significance
Part of truly loving someone is the hopes and dreams that we have of a life with them, always looking towards the future.
But as time marches on, one of the realities we must face is that, while we would love to live together side-by-side with our spouse forever, there will be a time that comes when we cannot.
Therefore, part of showing true love is preparing our spouses, and ourselves, for a time in which they must prepare for our funeral arrangements. Even if you opt for pre-planning, your spouse must be at least informed of where you’ve made your arrangements.
That’s why it’s important to talk to your spouse about your wishes.
Moving Forward versus Delaying the Matter
As with all uncomfortable or difficult things in life, you might be tempted to put this important conversation off for as long as possible, with the task weighing on your shoulders but being unable to take the first step.
Please, for both you and your partner, consider the alternative: What if the time comes where you or your spouse need this information, and this is a conversation that neither of you have had?
If you find yourself constantly pushing back the date, try marking a day in your planner or calendar. Resolve that you will be prepared to have a conversation with your spouse by that day, and follow through with your plans.
Ideas for Broaching the Subject
The topic of end-of-life arrangements is not one of the most animated talks that you two will ever have, but it also doesn’t have to be a “doom and gloom” situation.
Keep these ideas in mind to help you when you decide to have the conversation.
- Consider going on a walk together to discuss your arrangements (ideally, you will have already made a written list of planned arrangements and ideas that you can later share). Moving around can help release any tension either of you might be feeling.
- Make it a two-sided conversation involving both of your plans, so that it seems less foreboding towards one partner or the other.
- Avoid any alcoholic beverages before beginning your conversation. Though you might presume that this would “loosen you up a bit”, you run the risk of provoking heightened reactions or emotional sensitivity is much higher.
Dealing with Emotional Reactions
Depending on your spouse’s personality or sensitivity at the time of the discussion, you could encounter pushback, denial, or defensiveness, and there is certainly a possibility of tears during this conversation.
These are all absolutely normal reactions, and it does not mean that you should continue waiting to have the conversation.
Explain to your spouse that you are having this conversation precisely because you love them and want them to be prepared, and that this has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to upset them or cause anxiety.
If you simply cannot continue having the conversation for any reason, here are two possibilities to move forward proactively:
- Sleep on it. The next day, when your spouse is feeling a bit calmer, ask them if they could suggest a setting in which they would like to try having the conversation again. Be loving but insistent in the fact that this conversation is important to you, for no other reason but loving them.
- If all else fails, make sure they know where you have left an envelope containing all of your requests, or the contact information of the funeral home that has your pre-planned arrangements. Consider leaving a duplicate envelope with a close friend or family member.
Showing Your Love Through Preparation
At the end of the day, your preparation is the greatest final gift that you can give to the one you love, and having these important conversations with your spouse is part of showing your love for them.
We at Montgomery & Steward specialize in pre-planning funeral arrangements and would be happy to help you get started in the process, or simply to assure you amidst any doubts. We know that this can be an overwhelming process, and we are here to make your planning process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.