Asking for what you want, rather than telling your partner what they did wrong, or about what you don’t want, is a winning strategy.
A common mistake couples make is they don’t take time to analyze WHEN they are asking for something. The best way to find out is to ask: “Hi-is this a good time to talk?”
And if your partner says no, make a contract with them to talk at a later time. I always say unless you’re negotiating what exit to take during a fire, most things we talk about can wait until a later time. However-sometimes we need to ask for what we need, when we need it. Use discretion.
Then you can lead with acknowledgment-talk about what YOU experienced “I walked into the kitchen and the refrigerator door was open.”
Then talk about how you felt about that-leaving anger and frustration last. “I felt unappreciated, sad and angry.” (Maybe the refrigerator isn’t a good example here, but you get the idea.)
Then ask clearly and directly for what you’d like next time. “I would like you to close the refrigerator door, and try to be more mindful of this.”
To avoid criticism and blame in your marriage, talk about your feelings using I statements (“I feel…”) and express a positive need (“I need…”).
This means saying what you want, not what you don’t want.
People don’t usually think about what they want when they’re upset. Instead they think about what their partner partner should stop doing wrong.
What is one thing you want right now in your marriage?
Couples Counseling Mountainside
Chuck Beardsley, LCSW is a level-3 Gottman couples counselor, and is a level 3 Relational Life Counselor. Chuck utilizes Mindfulness, ACT, and other contemplative practices in his work with individuals and couples.
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