|

Be a Good Echo

Never assume you have been heard. Everyone is different. While you might need to be told only once to make sure to close the refrigerator door, most people need to be told something several times before it “clicks” in. Be patient and try not to have anger in your voice if your spouse needs reminding. Also, just because you said something once to your spouse doesn't mean that he or she understands what you meant or what you need. Having your spouse repeat what you said is a way of showing you that he or she heard what you said. If your spouse doesn't repeat it accurately, then you have a chance to say it differently.

Melissa and Sam usually understood each other's concerns. But sometimes even they would miscommunicate. They would make an incorrect assumption about what the other person was saying. For instance, Sam didn't like it when Melissa was on the telephone for long periods of time when he was home, especially during mealtime. He wanted her to limit her conversations to about 10 minutes, and if the phone rang during dinner, he wanted her to tell the person she would call them back after dinner. So Sam said, “I don't like it when you're on the phone all night. I like to spend time with you in the evenings.” Sam worded his request by following the “I” rule.

Soul Mates

There is nothing worse than having someone misunderstand what we mean. We all love it when we feel thoroughly understood. That kind of communication takes time and determination, but the rewards make for a thoroughly satisfying relationship.

Melissa immediately assumed that Sam did not want her to answer the phone in the evenings. The phone rang several times each night, and Melissa usually answered it. She worked out of their home and used the telephone to conduct much of her business. Melissa assumed that Sam's request was unreasonable. So she said, “You mean that you want me never to answer the phone during dinner? What if an important client is calling and doesn't leave a message? And you mean that I shouldn't conduct any business in the evenings? That would be impossible for me!”

“No, no, no. That isn't what I meant.” Sam told Melissa that what he meant was that she always answer the phone, but tell the caller she would call him or her back after dinner. And, he asked that she limit her calls to 10 minutes, unless it was something urgent. This seemed reasonable to Melissa. By repeating what she thought Sam meant, Sam was able to clarify what he really wanted from her. If she had just said, “I can't do that,” this issue would still be unresolved.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!