The best conversation my husband and I ever had was about 6 months after we got married. I can’t remember what exactly brought this up, but I was beating around the bush about something I wanted. You know how we do that.. “Oh, I really looovvee this such and such” or “It would be great to have a clean kitchen.” My husband always agreed with me when I said that and then just moved on. We all know how that works for us ladies! So needless to say, I was irritated. Here’s where the conversation comes in.
Just be direct!
I’m frustrated my husband didn’t clean the kitchen; he’s frustrated because he didn’t know he needed to clean the kitchen…and so we go around and around. Doesn’t this remind you of the movie The Breakup when Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are arguing about the dishes?? She says, “I want you to want to do the dishes!” And he replies with, “Why would I want to do the dishes?” Anyway, back to my house….Robb sat me down and said something that made so much sense (and let’s be honest, they don’t do that a lot) and yet it was so simple. He simply told me, “I want you to be happy, but you have to tell me what you want.” What?! Really?! It can’t be that easy, can it?
Why is that we never believe what our partners tell us? Why do we choose to make communication so hard? This simple conversation has changed how everything runs in my house. Now when I want the kitchen clean or the trash taken out, I simply ask Robb to do right then…or in a few minutes if that’s ok. Tip: Give him a timeline if you have one. If you don’t, he will do it on his time; and we all know that’s never the right time. Now, I didn’t just change overnight; I was very uncomfortable just telling him what I wanted….if felt so unnatural and bratty. Once I got the hang of it, it has done wonders for our family. I very rarely have to nag him about doing anything around the house; I just ask and give a timeline.
Guys tend to do one thing at a time. They are not like women whose minds are constantly thinking of multiple things at any given moment. I used to get so frustrated when I would give a Robb a list of things I needed his help with and he would only do the last thing on the list. Full disclosure, when Robb tried to explain this to me I thought it was just a cop out for not listening to me…then I had my son. HE IS THE EXACT SAME WAY!! Robb used to always ask me to send him a list of what I needed done and he would get through it; of course I never did that. Again, I thought he could possibly want something that simple and he must be telling me lies. I also thought it felt very demanding and like I was giving him chores. As my son has gotten to the age where we give him responsibilities, I really see that the last item on the list is the only thing that sticks! Guess Robb wasn’t making an excuse. So, now there’s lists everywhere!!! I give them to Robb, our son, and, of course, I make them for me!
Tell your spouse what you want them to do outright (and give a timeline) and make a list if they ask you for it. No matter how weird it feels, they will not get mad. It has helped our communication tremendously!
Let me know any tips you have for better communication!