Are you and your partner swimming in circles when it comes to making decisions? No need to let indecisiveness ruin your relationship. Consider trying direct communication.
Sharing what you want directly will likely help your partner understand exactly what you are looking for and how they can play a role in making that happen. Here are some pro-tips for delivering a direct request:
1. Identify what you are seeking from your partner/lover. Is it quality time, problem solving, listening, some perspective, a fun adventure, etc.?
Figuring out what it is that you want first is key. If you are clear on what you want, this will boost your confidence when it comes to the next step.
2. Spell it out for them (with words). After all, we are human, not telepathic. We will be more successful if we let our partners know exactly what we are looking for from them as opposed to expecting them to guess what it is that we want.
This is the difference between saying:
“Hey babe, I’d really love to take a walk and get some mint-chocolate chip ice cream after dinner”
& “Hey babe, what would you like to do after dinner?” (while secretly hoping our partner suggests ice cream).
When we wait for our partner to catch up with us (a.k.a. read our minds), it can take awhile or worse, we become upset that they don’t understand. Stating exactly what you want will keep them in the know and prevent misunderstandings.
3. If you catch what you’re seeking, what will that bring you? Sometimes it can be helpful to share with your lover the significance behind your request.
Consider these examples:
“I’d really like if we could spend the afternoon just the two of us because quality time would make me feel appreciated and relaxed”
“I’d prefer if we could go to the grocery store and run errands in the morning so that I am not worrying about it later on when we are at the show”
Sharing the why behind your request may actually help your partner attune to it better, especially if they know that the impact will lift you into a brighter mood.
The best way to become skillful at these requests is to deliver them often and check in to see how they are working. When you share your request, what feedback are you noticing from your partner?
Paying attention to how your partner responds when you are communicating directly will be essential to your future success. Are they understanding you? Do they have your undivided attention or distracted with other things?
What tone of voice works best? Maybe your partner hears you better when you speak with them in a calmer voice or maybe it is when you use a more vibrant tone. These are clues to pay attention to and practice.
Dare to be direct (in communicating). You’ll be thankful you did!
If you’re still feeling stuck, consider consulting a couples therapist for some relational skill building on the topic of interpersonal communication.