How To Get Your Spouse To Listen and Change Their Ways: Three Skills That Actually Work
Have you ever struggled to get your spouse or partner to listen and change?
It can drive you nuts when he/she won't listen because it puts in between a rock and a hard place. You feel like you have to decide between:
A) Being unhappy and staying
B) Leaving and losing everything
C) Stressful, unproductive conflict
Can I present you with a better option....
D) Productive change due to "necessary conflict"
Sounds good doesn't it? You'll need to have skills to pull this off which is why I recorded this video to help you.
Here are three skills you will need to change the power dynamic in your direction so that you can finally feel heard and get your relationship/marriage on track.
1) Address your thoughts- We don't like to admit it but we are the thoughts we tell ourselves. So, if we want change our life and the quality of our relationships, we must change our thoughts. One way to do is to use two techniques:
A) Noticing- "What do I notice that I am doing when I am upset?"
B) Displacement- This involves stepping back from the situation and getting some distance (like watching
yourself on television) to gain perspective on whether you like your thoughts and subsequent behavior.
What this allows you to do is to be more aware of your thoughts, change them and then change how you respond or act to elicit the desired outcome from your spouse.
2) Challenge Your Assumptions- What stories or assumptions are you making in your mind that are driving your decision making? Are you telling yourself, "If I speak up, he/she will leave me?" This is a normal fear but it needs to be questioned and challenged for accuracy. Is it also possible that speaking up will get your spouse's attention and facilitate change in a good way, even if their is initial resistance? Do you see how thoughts can affect your very behavior in the relationship?
3) Know Your Pattern & Change- Relationships are interesting...sometimes we forget that we have 50% of the power. A relationship literally is a partnership between two people but when we feel unheard, over-talked, and an inability to influence our partner's decision making, it feels like we have no power. While conflicts due happen and spouses often don't listen at first, the real test is how to respond to the resistance that determines everything.
For example, if you ask your husband for a date and he is resistant but still wants to have sex, you have options. You can given in and mistakenly send a message that you are okay with not dating and then making love when really you are just sucking it up. A better alternative is to communicate how disappointed you feel and how that is a bad recipe for intimacy for you. Explain that a date makes you want to be intimate because you feel seen, heard, and catered to and opens up the bridge for love making.
See how much easier that is versus just sucking it up which never works. Your spouse can tell and the reaction to "going through the motions" can be devastating for you both.
The reality is that conflict is necessary in all marriages so that one partner doesn't feel erased by the other. We have to engage in a bit of a negotiation and even fight at times to ensure that the relationship/marriage works for both parties. In summary, you don't want to avoid the conflict but embrace it and use it to make sure that both partner's needs are consistently met.
This week's class will have special guest, Dr. Jacqueline Sherman, who is married and a licensed psychologist and intimacy and relationship coach who specializes in helping couples have spicy, fulfilling intimacy and work through any lovemaking issues.