Talk Directly.

Communication begins with saying what is on your mind.

Ironically, important concerns and preferences often are the most likely to go unvoiced.

No one can read your mind.

  • If you don’t say what’s on your mind, how will the other person know it? And know it exactly as you are thinking?
  • Holding back from saying something about situations that trouble you starts down a path of increasing voicelessness, irritation, resentment, depression and emotional distance from your spouse.

What motivates reluctance to say what is on your mind?

  • When you choose voicelessness over saying your thoughts, you may be feeling irritated and fear that your words could yield a defensive response.
  • Or, you may feel that speaking up is unsafe because it risks not being heard with understanding and empathy.

These are both issues to reflect on.

Thoughts need to be expressed and voiced directly if you want your preference to be considered.

However, some people resort to 

  • HOPING. This means that you are doing some ‘wishful thinking’, HOPING that the other person will get what you are thinking.
  • HINTING. This is raising the topic without saying directly what is on your mind.

The facts: Your spouse has been coming home late several evenings in one week.
(thinking to self) “If only they’d arrive home when they say they’ll get home.”
(saying) “Seems your work is taking you longer this week.”

Just say it!

  • Say it clearly and directly.
  • Use “I statements”.
  • Your words & non verbals matter!

Example:

The facts: Your spouse has been coming home late several evenings in one week.
“I like when you are home by X:00. That’s what we discussed.  What’s going on?”

  • HOPING gets you started; it lets you know there is something on your mind.
  • HINTING can serve as an introduction to indicate to your spouse that you are thinking about something.
  • But these don’t suffice as a full expression of what is on your mind.
                   SAY IT.

DISCUSS: Don’t hint

Wondering, guessing and assuming someone’s thoughts and intentions are all speculating.

  • Speculating does little to find out your spouse’s actual thoughts and intentions.
  • Speculations generate feelings of powerlessness. And they invite misunderstandings.
  • Assuming: “I’m sure you’ll  never get around to it.”
  • Guessing: “I bet you want to go with your friends today instead of with me.”
  • Wondering:  (thinking to self) “I wonder if we can afford to do it.”

Instead of speculating, ask.

  • Asking empowers you with reliable information.
  • Asking initiates the information flow that enables you to stay connected.

Assuming: “I’m sure you’ll  never get around to it.”

Asking: “I would like this to get done before next week, when is a good time to do it?”

Guessing: “I bet you want to go with your friends today instead of with me.”

Asking:  “I’d really like to spend time together. What would you like to do together today?”

Wondering:  (thinking to self) “I wonder if we can afford to do it.”

Asking:  “I’d really like to do it. Can we afford it?”

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