One complaint we often hear from couples is how negative their spouse is and how he/she comes across when talking to them. It reminded me of something I recently heard that happened between a father and his two-year old daughter. The father said his daughter turned to him and said, “Don’t talk to me!” In return the father explained, “You don’t talk that way to Daddy.” Well, I over analyze everything so I started thinking is this going to communicate to her that she can’t express how she feels? I’m afraid the issue is not so much she can’t express her feelings, but rather how she needs to express them differently. For example, he could have shared with her, “When you don’t want to talk, say Daddy, I don’t want to talk right now.” Or, “Daddy, I don’t feel like talking now.” We’re thinking these type of comments would come across less offensive. Perhaps if we started telling our children, at a very young age, how to better express their feelings, we would have less adults feelings disrespected in their marriages by their spouse.
We know lots of relationships skills and we know when we use them they make all the difference in the world. We just have to buckle down and use them. We did that today. We worked through an issue using several of the skills we have learned over the years. It was a great experience and we each took ownership of how we contributed to the problem and what we were each willing to do about it.
I don’t have space here to explain the specifics so I’ll give you the basics and, if interested, you can google and read more about them and try these techniques to see if they don’t work for you. Try them. We think you will like them. The tools we used were first, understanding what the experts call the “Fear Cycle.” Then, identifying what’s behind the fear. After that, we talked through our reactions using “I” messages and reflective listening. After we had a good understanding of where the other was coming from, we used the ten-step plan for problem solving. Ta Da = issue resolved and we are happy campers.