Tip 1: Remember when asking a spouse to do something, they are not your employee or child. They may not view the task with the same urgency and need you do. Nor may they understand, from your perspective, why this is so important that you need them to do it. Often your partner will have their own views and opinions about what you are asking them to do- so enquire about it.
Tip 2: Being generous and making sure you are understood can go a long way. Talk from your perspective but also find out what they think. Remember that they may not want to do it or be able to do it when you need it. Relationships require flexibility. Ask yourself if this task is more important than the happiness and well-being of your relationship
Tip 3: If you ask your partner/spouse to do something on your behalf- give them opportunity to do the right thing. Don't hover or complain until they do it. Simply make the request, be specific and then leave them alone. If it’s not done, enquire about what they understood they committed to. People will not do things if they feel like they are forced to do it or if they committed to do it under duress. So if your partner hasn’t done the task, it’s a sign you guys need to negotiate this task so it’s a win-win for you both.
Tip 4: Evaluate if the task you are asking your spouse to do it is really a “love test.” A love test is: “if you really loved me you’d do this.” However, if you really love someone you would not test them.
Tip 5: If your spouse or partner completes a task, focus on that fact- do not complain and criticize that they didn't do it exactly the way you wanted...it is more important to reward effort then results...then as momentum buildings you can work together to refine the output. Again if you wanted it done exactly as you would want it perhaps it would have been better to do it yourself. Again our spouses are not employees or children for us to manage and order around, they are our partners.
Tip 6: Always be polite when making requests. If we were to ask a co-worker or stranger for something we are often nicer to them then the people we love and spend every day with. Too often we start to take our spouses for granted and do not show the same level of courtesy we show strangers or co-workers. The best way to maintain good will is to give it...
Tip 7: Focus on what your spouse/partner does do and compliment and praise that...positive encourage will more likely feed a desire to help out than criticising, complaining, nagging and blaming. Relationships need a 5:1 ratio of compliments and praise for every negative statement. Keep your ratio in the positive.
Tip 8: Criticizing, complaining, nagging, blaming and contempt are the 5 deadly horsemen that slowly kill a relationship. Contempt in a relationship is the #1 predictor of divorce...so stear clear!
All in the Family Counselling
20 Malacca Street, Level 9 Malacca Centre
MRT: Raffles Place
Tammy M. Fontana, MS, NCC, CTRT, Completed Level 2 of Gottman Methodolgy