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Do Not Complain if You Did Not Ask!

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Do you find yourself getting upset at your partner for things you never communicated to them? Take this scenario for example: you get home and make your partner a delicious dinner. You put so much time and thought into it—they’re bound to help you with the dishes, right? But they don’t do the dishes, and now you’re upset with them. They notice and ask you what’s wrong, but you respond with a sour, “Nothing.” They should know that you expected them to clean up after dinner. Is this starting to sound a bit silly? Your partner can’t read your mind. You must ask for what you want in order to receive it.

-Excerpt from The Gottman Institute. Having mentored young couples, and being a wife myself, I find women tend to be more guilty when it comes to being unclear in their expectations (although I have met plenty of men who fall into this trap, too). I still find myself doing this on occasion. The other night my husband and I were about to watch a movie and I said to him, “I’m thirsty.” If he had been in a sassy mood, he might have responded by saying, “You must be dehydrated.” Or, “Ok, I will wait while you get something.” After 32 years of marriage, he knew what I meant, showed grace and brought me a glass of water…EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT ASK!

Please, please, please my married friends. Let this sink in. If we do not ask directly for what we want, then we cannot get angry at our spouse when they do not deliver. We all have different communication styles, and just because we are communicating in a way that makes sense to us does not mean your spouse understands.

The next time you get angry at your spouse for not doing something, ask yourself, “Did I verbally ask them to (fill in the blank)?” If you can master this simple communication technique, you will avoid a lifetime of arguments.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou


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