You share your life with your partner, so naturally, you are always thinking of things that you want to tell him or her.
We encourage honesty with your partner, but is there a limit? When should you leave your thoughts in your head? Is there a point where you should censor yourself in front of your partner?
Yes and no.
It’s true: honesty is extremely important in any relationship. It is an element to good communication and understanding. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s productive to shout out anything that enters your mind, word for word.
You may have thoughts that sound like this: “Ugh, I hate when my partner does this!” Or “This is such a terrible marriage.”
Do these thoughts need to be said out loud? Not in this way.
You can get these feelings across in a way that does not attack your partner’s character or make them feel upset. Simply saying, “I hate when you…” is not going to lead to a healthy, levelheaded conversation. Instead, change your thoughts into a solutions-oriented statement that explains why you are upset after your partner’s behavior.
For example, let’s say you want to tell you partner, “You make a big mess every time that I’m gone! You’re so sloppy!” These statements only attack your partner’s character and behavior – without offering any solutions.
Change your approach by saying, “When I come home from a business trip, I want to spend time with you, not cleaning the house. How about I give you a call an hour or two before I get home in case there’s anything you need to pick up?”
This way, you put a plan in motion, so you and your partner can enjoy a nice day or evening together after you get home.
By changing or tailoring your words, you remove the negativity and anger, while still getting your feelings about the conflict across to your partner. You’re not censoring yourself – just rearranging what you have to say to ensure a more productive conversation.
Want more tips on how you can get your message across? Contact a Portland relationship coach.