There’s a right way to get your spouse to listen to you and a wrong way. I spent a lot of years going about it the wrong way. Actually, I still get it wrong sometimes.
So, what is the wrong way? It usually starts out something like this-
You never do _______.
Why can’t you ever ________.
I thought you were going to _______.
I always have to ________ on my own.
Here’s the problem with these statements, they are accusatory. When you start a conversation accusing the other person of something – whether they are guilty or not, you aren’t going to get very far. If you want your spouse to listen to you, then you have to approach the conversation differently. Communication is a two-way street, and it’s essential to listen to each other and understand what each other is saying.
Present the Problem
Keelie and I have found the best way to come to each other about issues is to present the complaint as a problem. When I go to Keelie and tell her I’ve got a problem and need her help, she is much more receptive to me, and she will help brainstorm a solution. If I go to her and accuse her of not doing what I think she should do, she’s not going to take it well.
The same is true of how she approaches me. I’d venture to say that this is the case for all of us.
Brainstorm The Solution
Most issues in your marriage can be solved when you approach it this way. You can strengthen your marriage together if you approach your struggles together, whether you are struggling with finances, sex, division of roles and responsibilities, or other concerns. Before you jump into accusing your spouse of never helping or doing what you need, talk to them about your problem.
It would help if you allowed them to brainstorm the problem. You’ll have much better luck allowing your spouse to decide how to help instead of telling them what they need to do to help.
Work Together as a Team
We’ve developed a team mindset in our marriage. It can be really easy to lose sight of teamwork if we walk into conversations telling the other person where they have failed. When we approach each other with the problem and ask for help, it is much easier to tackle any issues as a team.
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