Remember the last time you got in a heated dialogue with your love partner or spouse because one of you was sharing your feelings?
If you said an hour ago… you’re far from alone.
When we are feeling triggered or stuck or needing to express our feelings, needs, and preferences, we often fall into the trap of talking about what we DON’T WANT instead of what we DO WANT.
It’s our human default way.
It’s part of our evolutionary survival instinct to focus on and point out all that’s not right.
For this is how things get fixed, right?
Yes. And. When we get better at describing what we DO want to have, experience, feel, create, etc… we are clarifying for both our selves as well as our partner (or the other person) what we’re truly wanting or needing, while minimizing the risk of an unintended communication breakdown. “DO WANT” opens up the opportunity for better understanding, resolution, and collaboration.
When we humanly get stuck in “DON’T WANT” mode… we’re much more likely to trigger our partner since “DON’T WANT” often lands as criticism or a personal attack to the receiver. Or worse… we unintentionally lead our partner to feel inadequate, unworthy, defeated, unappreciated, unsuccessful, unwanted, and so on. (These are the actual words most commonly expressed by my male clients). This of course leads to either defensiveness or stonewalling (shutting down) most of the time.
Instead, make it easier to be more successful with each other by giving your partner the key information they need (and want) to know so they can do what will lead to their success with you.
And it’s important to be specific.
Don’t just say you do want more alone time… say you do want alone time on Tuesday and Thursday nights between 7pm and 9pm.
Like when my boys gripe and complain most nights about my ideas for dinner until I say “OK… well, why don’t you tell me what you DO WANT for dinner then instead of everything you don’t want?!” And then they instantly become helpful and so much less annoying. 😉
So try “DO WANT” statements on for size. See how this strategy can really help you navigate not only your thoughts and your focus, but also your dialogue, toward what you’re truly after. Expressing oneself and feeling heard is a human need we all have, but to be able to express ourselves in terms of what we specifically are wanting to experience, feel, create, improve, empowers us to more easily identify solutions, and ways to get what we do most want and need.
For example, if you feel your partner is on their phone more than you’d like and you’re fed up with how much his phone distracts him, instead of focusing on the fact that you DON’T want him on his phone so much, you can hone in on how you DO want to spend more time with him. You WANT to feel closer and more connected to him. You WANT to experience a deeper connection with him. Imagine the difference expressing what we DO WANT more than what we DON’T can make in all of our relationships.
Try this. Do it. Let me know how it goes!
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To Your Loving Relationships,
Certified Relationship Coach
Certified Marriage Educator and Divorce Preventionist
Certified Strategic Interventionist
“Jennifer helps busy professionals & parents ignite connection, excitement, intimacy & fun in their relationships so they can feel more respected, understood, and appreciated.”
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