Communicating with our partners is hard sometimes, yes? Maybe it didn’t used to be (before kids). Maybe you’re just having a rough patch (totally normal). Or maybe you’ve just found yourself in the nasty pattern of nagging without results or not even asking (and therefore, definitely not getting results). Either way, I wanted to share 5 quick ways I breathe fresh air into into my own marriage and reframe our conversations to feel more light, easy and positive.
1. “You’re such a great dad.”
I probably don’t tell my husband this enough. But he definitely would never tire of hearing it (the same way I never tire of hearing “You’re such a wonderful mother.”), and he 100% is a fantastic father.
If you ever think this for even a second, say it out loud to your husband. If you’re walking out the door to get some very necessary alone time or self-care, turn before you go and say these empowering words to your man. He can keep the kids alive without you. Even if you don’t think he can. And, by the way, if YOU don’t think he can, then he definitely won’t think he can.
Even if you’re faking it or aren’t sure yourself, just tell him he’s a great dad so he can step into that role a bit more proudly and be the dad you both want him to be.
2. “I would love it if . . .”
You know how sometimes you’ve asked your hubby to do something like five times and he still hasn’t done it or even remembered that you asked? Great opportunity for you to try this script!
“I would LOVE it if you would put your socks in the hamper. I would LOVE it if you would wipe down the counters. I would LOVE it if you put Johnny to bed tonight. I am so beat.”
Say it like you mean it, with a smile. Men like pleasing us and these words don’t make them feel like you’re treating them like they are another of your children.
3. “Do you think you’ll have time to . . .”
This morning I almost barked the following at my hubs, “I need you to pick up x at Walmart on your way home from work today okay?” And then I caught myself and realized that, though, not intended to sound nasty or condescending, it would sound way BETTER if I kindly ASKED him if this was a possibility. Once again, making him feel less like a second child and more like my equal.
I reframed it to, “Do you think you’ll have time to pick up x on the way home from work some day this week, love?” “Yes! I think I can tomorrow!” Wow. Totally different conversation.
4. “Thank you for x. I really appreciate when you x.”
I know we all know this. I know we just forget to say it. Try to remember to say it more. I’ve actually written it as a standing love note on a chalkboard in my kitchen to remind myself and my husband that I seriously DO appreciate the things he does for our family.
Also, be SPECIFIC. “Thank you for cleaning all those dishes and even wiping down the counters. The kitchen looks amazing. I seriously appreciate you doing that tonight because I just wasn’t feeling up to it,” goes much further than a half-assed, passive aggressive “Thanks for cleaning the kitchen (for the first time ever)!”
5. “I like you.”
Remember when you guys first started dating and you couldn’t say “I love you” yet, so you said, “I like you” all the time instead? (Or was that just me?) Anyway – bring back some of that flirty honeymoon phase.
If he makes you smile, remind him that you like him. If he does something sweet, remind him that you like him. If he’s just sitting there and you start having deep thoughts and noticing him as his own person and not just the person who is always there and still hasn’t moved from the couch, TELL HIM YOU LIKE HIM.