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Invite rather than complain

September 7, 2011

A Great Idea…

“It is normally easier [for your partner] to do more of something good than to do less of something bad. Therefore, when possible, a [request for] change should be phrased in terms of what you want rather than in terms of what you don’t want.” (Andrew Christensen and Neil S. Jacobson in their book, Reconcilable Differences, p. 199-200)

In Other Words…

One of the most common ways of trying to get our partners’ to change is to tell them what not to do. This often leaves our partners dwelling on the wrong things. And it can make them discouraged or defensive, and usually doesn’t produce the desired result. A much more effective approach is to make requests of our partners that tell them what we would like them to do. An invitation is always better than a complaint.

How This Applies to You …

The next time you want to make a request of your partner, try to make it one of action instead of restriction. Instead of asking your partner NOT to leave the dirty clothes on the floor, try instead to say, “Honey, next time would you please put your clothes in the laundry hamper?”

To Find Out More…

For more great ideas check out the Navigating Life’s Journey blog

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

For an excellent book focused on marriage, read Reconcilable Differences by Andrew Christensen & Neil S. Jacobson or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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