4 Communication Strategies That Will Better Your Marriage
I admit it.
In the past I’ve made a comment or two (or three or four) to my husband that if I were caught on camera one would think think:
(Gasp!) O.M.G. What a b*tch…!
And let’s be honest: I know you’ve been there too because what else are you complaining about with your girlfriends when the topic of husbands come up? However, what’s giggled over “Ladies’ Cocktail Hour” does not negate your part in how you communicate to your husband. No matter what frustrations you feel, the only person you can manage is you. That said, here are 5 examples of what not to say and instead what to say:
1) What’s wrong with you??
Honestly, the above is comparable to chopping off his penis.
Saying it in a laughing, fun gesture is one thing, but when you respond with the above because your husband forgot to pick up the milk on the way home, I can assure you that he’ll never ever offer to pick up the milk again.
HEALTHY RESPONSE – Attacking someone with words is really you acting out your feelings. If you feel frustrated that he forgot “the one thing” you asked him to do, instead try this: I know you’re not trying to forget, but I do feel frustrated that it happens. Will you please do try to remember next time?
2) What were you thinking?!
When your husband comes home from work and shares with you how a deal of his backfired, my guess is that he’s looking for some compassion and support and not a devaluing attack.
HEALTHY RESPONSE – You don’t have to agree how your husband handles certain situations, but if your husband didn’t ask for your opinion then it’s better to keep your “what the f*ck was he thinking” thought to yourself. However, if he did ask for your opinion then simply offer another concrete solution. Try this: Well if it were me I probably would have done __________.
Keep it simple and non-critical.
3) That’s ALL you did??
In a perfect world our husbands would read our minds in the most symbiotic, magical way. But that’s not reality (nope – not happenin’ ladies). You’re allowed to feel frustrated that he didn’t execute a task the way you would, but vomiting your disappointment all over him will get you no where.
HEALTHY RESPONSE – Your husband said he was going to help you straighten up the kids rooms while you were out. You come home to find his definition of straightening up the kids rooms is the sheets are pulled up to the top of the bed and the toys are are all pushed up to one side of the wall. In your head you’re thinking your 6 year old could do a better job straightening up. However, one hopes that you also realize that you were not as specific with what “straightening up the kids’ rooms” means. So instead try this: I realize I wasn’t specific about where the toys should go and how the beds are made, so next time I’ll be more specific. Thanks for your help though – I really appreciate it.
4) Stop touching me.
Hubby wants to get sexy times on and you’d rather stick needles in your eyes after the child screaming, work stress day you’ve had. But guess what? You’re allowed to feel that way and you’re allowed to select the pause button in response.
HEALTHY RESPONSE - Instead try this: (give a kiss/hug in return…come on, he needs something) Honey, I just need a bit of time to decompress from the day so that I can really be present with you.
He’s not stupid – he’ll get the hint without you making him feel like a total reject. The only caveat is this doesn’t mean you get a free hall pass for the week: You’re just as responsible for your sexual relationship as he is so #1, do what ever jedi mind tricks you have to do to get present for sex and #2, it’s your responsibility to let him know when you’re ready and able.
5) You’re pathetic!
Ladies, this is so not cool to say to anyone. How old are you??? Kids say this to other kids when they feel angry, hurt, sad, disappointed, etc. Own your feelings and communicate them like an adult.
HEALTHY RESPONSE – Your husband just said something to you which sounded attacking and critical, but the last thing you want to do is get in the sand box with him. Be the adult and be direct: I feel hurt when you talk to me like that. If you’re upset about something that I did then talk to me like an adult, but don’t push me against the wall with your words.
And that’s it. Be respectful. Be an adult (not a fire breathing dragon) and be smart.