Relationships Die One Sentence at a Time.
Look at the difference between these two sentences:
- “I don’t like it when you leave your dirty clothes all over the bedroom.”
- “You are such a slob. You might like living in a pig-sty but I don’t.”
Complaining Vs Character-Assassination.
The first sentence is a complaint.
The second sentence is a character-assassination.
The first sentence deals with the problem.
The second sentence doesn’t deal with the problem at all – in fact the person you are addressing may have no idea what you’re getting at – and they’re certainly not going to make an effort to change. Would you?
If you are assassinating your partner’s character on a regular basis, you can be sure of two things:
- You’re hurting them and
- You’re destroying your relationship.
Deal Decently with Issues
Before you lash out next time, use the guidelines below to tackle the issue:
- Identify one issue to talk about. Only one. Let me repeat that: tackle only one issue at a time.
- Focus on the behaviour not your partner’s character.
- Plan how you will say it. Begin the sentence with I and not You. “I don’t like the way you spill toothpaste all over the basin.” or “I feel so upset when you expect me to clean up the mess after you’ve cooked” OR “I feel exhausted after all these visitors; I’d appreciate some help cleaning up and then we can both relax together.”
- Practice your sentence mentally a few times.
- When you are calm, deliver your sentence to your partner. Now BE QUIET. Allow your partner to digest and respond.
Getting into the habit of dealing with problems this way allows for better communication and stronger relationships.
Practice Every Day
Start with small issues and practice every day. This way when you need to deal with something big it will come more naturally.
Lastly, don’t forget to verbally appreciate when changes happen.
Criticism, like rain,
Frank A. Clark
should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth
without destroying his roots.