Nevertheless, because these issues are often not discussed openly and widely and do not affect everyone, they often fester under the surface - breeding resentment and frustration for many. Nationally, it often seems as though there is little we can do to change this situation. One encouraging fact, however, is that since the economy has worsened to the degree it has and affected so many people, we now find it a widespread enough problem that we can easily discuss this topic with relative strangers - with individuals voicing what they feel might help without offense or anger.
All marriages have their hot button issues. They might be finances, children, in-laws or several other topics, but married people all too often learn that things go more smoothly when we don’t discuss finances over the breakfast table or the in-laws as we drive off on vacation. But because these issues are so often argued about, then swept under the rug as acknowledged hot-button issues, they may linger at the back of our minds and bring resentment and frustration.
The answer, however, is always to talk these things through. The time and place need to be chosen carefully, and ground rules should always be agreed upon before the discussion begins. We especially need to be able to agree that mutual respect trumps any individual issue and we need to be able to agree to disagree, to find compromise, to work together as much as possible. Unlike national hot-button issues which may only affect certain groups or be championed by them, family hot-buttons affect everyone in the family and need bilateral, husband and wife cooperation.
The good news is that even though our national economic problems are far from solved, we have learned to talk about them and in many cases to focus on what can be done about those problems in areas where improvement might be possible. For marriages, this principle is even better news. By acknowledging the problems and talking about them, we have hope of improvement. The essential point is that we need to learn to talk about - and work to defuse our family hot-buttons rather than ignoring them or pressing them. That’s not only how bomb disposal works, but also how marriages grow.