Before you start playing the blame game, you should evaluate how you communicate with your spouse.
We all want to believe that we’re the innocent victim, but both parties are guilty in miscommunication. If you’d like your partner to listen to you and take action on your requests, you should reflect on how your own perspective may be throwing a wrench in your plans…
News flash! Your partner is not psychic. There is no correlation between the number of years spent in a relationship and a couple’s ability to read each other’s minds! Over time, you expect your partners to know what you want and need because you’ve known each other for a certain amount of time, but guess what? There’s a strong likelihood they expect the same from you, and you’re not living up to their expectation either. You have to begin by communicating what you want in a clear, direct, and respectful manner.
My relationship isn’t a fairy tale? We often live from ideals, expecting (even demanding) that the world (and our partners) should react to us in a certain way, which sets us up for constant disappointment. There’s no better example of this than the unreasonable expectations we have of our relationships. “He/she should have known this needs to be done every Wednesday.” What you’re really saying to yourself is “My partner is supposed to know this is supposed to be done Wednesday because my partner is supposed to be perfect just like in the fairytales.” There is no such thing as a prince/princess charming, so don’t be insulted if they’re not reading you. Share with them why you value your request so they know why it’s important to you, and have the opportunity to accommodate you.
Are you really asking? Just like Jeopardy, you must put the sentence in the form of a question. Passive aggression is not a form of a question or request. It feels easier to throw in a sly remark about how certain things don’t get done around the house, or how your partner forgot to do something in a timely fashion. Think about it the other way around—do you enjoy someone poking at you with snide, offhand comments? Of course not. Proper and effective communication requires directly telling someone what you want and why. Don’t just stop at ‘what’ you want. You need to tell your partner ‘why’ so they understand the context of your request—it will help them respect, understand, and find motivation to get it done.
It’s not what you ask for; it’s how you ask for it. Sometimes it’s not what you’re asking for, but how you ask for it! Listen to yourself the next time you ask for something. Would you like to be asked that way? Would your tone motivate you to want to do what you ask? A good place to start is with a “please” and “thank you.” Does your tone sound like you appreciate their help and attention? A good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t apply your tone to a friend or stranger, then it’s certainly not the type of tone you should use with someone you’re intimate with. Shift your tone to a place of gratitude, and your intention to a place of love. You’ll get better results!
Have you tried asking in a different way? Insanity is defined by a person repeating the same action over and over again while expecting different results. It’s insane to think that if you ask a question or make a request the same way over and over again and expect them to respond differently. Take some initiative and find a different tact! Be creative! Sit across from your partner and hold their hands and look them directly in the eye. Now that you have their full attention, tell them what you’d like them to do and why it’s important to you.
Walk a mile in their moccasins. Do you remember when it was early on in your relationship, when you wondered and cared about what your partner was thinking, and how you made regular attempts to understand how you could improve and communicate? We have a tendency to lose the delicate touch that new couples cultivate, falling into the trap of thinking about our own needs, desires and agendas. Ask yourself, “Where is he/she coming from on this issue?” “Why does he/she not value what I value in this instance?”
Remember that the above suggestions are not limited to certain items on your to-do list that you’re passionate about– embrace them daily! Nine times out of ten, you’ll have a much better relationship; certainly one that is based on respect and empathy, the foundations of all successful relationships. Be one of them!!!