Lose The YOU’s and Use The I’s

We have learned a great many things in our experiences with couples who have come to our Life Together Forever Couples Retreats and Workshops and who have been through one of our Marriage Intensives.

While teaching how to communicate to your spouse in a way they will receive it, one of the wives raised her hand and said, “I need to lose the YOUs and Use the I’s”. We told her that it would be in one of our next several blogs because it is so good.

My Spouse Never Hears Me

If you are like most spouses, you have a season at some time in your marriage where you feel like your spouse just does not hear what you are saying. Because they have shown no evidence that they understand what you want them to do or stop doing, you have likely begun to do things that actually cause more harm in your relationship.

When your spouse does not hear you, you may be one who talks louder and louder until you are screaming. Or maybe you throw a fit. Or maybe you just say the same thing over and over believing that repetition will make him understand it. Perhaps you withdraw and move away. Or you stop communicating anything at all.

Nothing I Can Do Until My Spouse Listens

‘Warn them before God to stop their useless bickering over words. After all, splitting hairs does no good; it only ruins those forced to listen to their meritless arguments.’ 2 Timothy 2:14b

You may think that there is nothing you can do until your spouse starts listening to you. You are wrong! The first thing you should do is make sure that you are saying it in a way that they can hear it.

  • Use ‘I’ Instead Of ‘You” – When you begin your sentence describing the problem, you usually will send up your spouse’s defenses. They feel under attack. They automatically stop listening to you in a future focused way.
  • Don’t Ascribe Motive – When you tell your spouse why they did something, you are asking for trouble. First, you do not know why your spouse did it because you are not a Mind Reader. Second, you further put them in a defensive position to move away from you because they know that the reason behind what they did is inaccurate.
  • Describe How It Impacts You – When you report to your spouse who what they did or did not do, make sure to tell them how it impacted you. Why is it important to you that it happen (or stop happening). Give them your why!
  • Ask For What You Want – One of the most common mistakes of a spouse who is not being heard is that they report the problem (usually in an accusatory way) and never give specific instruction about what they want to happen in the future. So instead of a problem being fixed, your spouse just feels like they have been beaten with a wet newspaper. Know what you want and ask for it.

The Formula For Saying It In A Way Your Spouse Will Hear It

There is a formula to help you say it in a way your spouse will hear it. We recommend that you write out what you want to say, as a way to practice it on paper before you actually have the conversation. Here’s the easy formula:

I observed … (describe what you saw happen or not happen).

It affected me because … (describe how you felt and why it is important to you).

I request… (describe specifically what you want to have happen or not happen in the future).

What do you have to say?

We love to hear from readers.  What have you done that was helpful when you did not feel like your spouse heard you?  Do you know someone who thinks saying it louder or with more emotion is the best way to be heard? Do you have any other suggestions you would add to our list? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?

This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.