One dilemma all marriages find themselves in is how to best tell their partner how they are feeling. What I mean by this is that sometimes when we try bringing up an issue with our spouse, we start it off with blaming or obvious anger. Think of the last time you started off a conversation like this. How did it work out for you?? If a conversation starts off like this, it will most likely end like this too. That’s not the goal, though! The whole point is that you want to tell your spouse you are frustrated about something they did and you want it to be cleared up, hopefully preventing it from happening again.
I’m going to teach you a master technique of doing this and it’s seriously so simple! It’s as simple as saying your ABC’s! That’s why I call it the ABC formula. It works like this:
Benefits of using this formula
- It’s a calm way of expressing how you feel!
- The conversation is focused on the facts, instead of assumptions. A feeling is a fact, and stating what they did (without exaggeration) is a fact. If you avoid using generalizations like “you always” or “all the time” then you’re also being factual about when.
- It’s a straightforward tactic rather than being passive aggressive towards your spouse and hope they figure out why you are giving them the silent treatment! I think most of the time we can sense that something is wrong with our spouse, but it’s sure hard to guess what exact feeling they are experiencing and WHY.
- This helps you speak for yourself, rather than putting words in their mouth. For example, we tend to mind-read saying things like, “Well you seem to think that all I do is nag and that’s not true!” A better way for this to go down is: “I felt insulted when you said that I nagged you so much at the grocery store.”
- Because this formula is more calm and straightforward, it allows for your message to be better received by your spouse, rather than the abrasiveness of screaming it to them. When our message is received better, it’s also understood better. That’s the key, right, is to have your feelings understood?!
An awesome way to help you remember this
Some people call this formula “I-Messages” because you start with “I” and are speaking for yourself. So a neat way I came up with to remember this formula is through your iPhone!
For those of you who have an iPhone, you’ll know that the app you use to send text messages is called “iMessages.” So I typed out this formula in a text message, as if I was sending it to my spouse. And guess what happened?? there’s that little notification below the text that says my message was “delivered.” :) GET IT?? It’s like I said above; when we use this formula for bringing up an issue with our spouse, it almost always is going to be delivered and received better, which allows them to understand your feelings more.
I hope every time you go to type a text message to your spouse, you remember this handy advice. This can be the daily reminder we all need because even I don’t always use it when I should! It’s hard in the heat of the moment, right? So keep in mind that though I said it’s a master technique for more effective communication, it doesn’t totally mean you will be the master at using it every time! Nevertheless, I hope you apply this technique next time you need to tell your spouse how you feel about a situation, and that you notice a difference!
If you have tried this a few times, tell us how it worked for you!
(featured image by the talented Nicholette Photography)