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Soften your startup

June 3, 2011

A Great Idea…

“When a woman asks [a man] to “get in touch with his feelings,” it’s like asking him to get in touch with a red-hot horseshoe. Here is the key to remember about a man’s emotions: he has to ease into them gradually, not abruptly.” (Marriage experts, Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, in their book, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 51)

In Other Words…

Often when women want to talk about their feelings, they will dive right in and get to the heart of the matter. This can send men’s heart rates through the roof. They often feel surprised and attacked. Wise counsel to women who want to have a good discussion with men is to “soften the startup.” Rather than sneaking up on your partner and whacking him with a problem, try inviting him to a discussion about making your relationship even stronger.

How This Applies to You…

Next time you want to discuss something sensitive with your partner, wait until you’re feeling peaceful. Design your message so that it doesn’t feel like a demand or accusation but does feel like an invitation to a stronger relationship.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families (arfamilies.org).

For more in-depth reading, we recommend How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking about It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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