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Monday, 29 November 2010

How To Open Up Communication With A Spouse

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The Wrong Way

Dear Scott,
Sometimes I feel that you walk in the door and see the one thing that I didn't get done in the day without acknowledging all the things that I did do.

My day is often perfectly planned but then I can get a call from the school to pick up a sick child or I need to take one of our parents to the doctor and then I can just kiss the day goodbye.

Those are the days when I feel lucky just to get the dinner on the table.

Most of the time I don't resent these intrusions because I love our kids and our folks.

Other times I just want to scream when I get one of these calls and I look at the stacks of laundry that won't get put away for days, again. When I point this out to you and ask for more of your help you tell me that you work hard all day.

I know that, but they're your kids, too. Why do you act like you're doing me a big favor when you take the garbage out?

Love, Sheila

The Write Way

Dear Scott,
I want to talk with you about our relationship. Lately it seems that we're always too rushed or too tired to talk. And, because of that pressure, it seems like our talks quickly blow up into arguments.

Maybe if we try talking to each other this way we might be able to hear each other better.

I'm not asking you to problem solve for me, I just want you to listen and acknowledge that the day was really frustrating for me.

Just take the kids out for pizza and give me an hour by myself or put them to bed for me.

I know how hard you work and that your days at the office are really long. I appreciate that you're home for dinner every evening. And I know that you often get some more work done after dinner so I'm not asking for you to take over for me every night, just on those occasions when I'm juggling sick children or I spent the day taking one of our parents to the doctor.

I just want to feel appreciated for how hard I work. I love your Dad and don't mind taking him to the doctor but it would mean a lot to me if you said, "Thank you. I appreciate how much you do to take care of my Dad."

I'd like it if we could set aside a time to talk about these changing needs in our life, for example, the fact that are parents are getting older and we'll need to make some decisions about their care.

What can you suggest?

Maybe we could get back into the habit of going out to breakfast by ourselves one morning a week.

It would be nice to just spend some time alone with you.

I love you.


Samples letters written by Dr. Louise Klein, psychotherapist

Use at least several of the following principles while writing your letter:
Don't blame. Don't accuse. Make "I" statements. Be specific about what you want. Ask for your partner's input. End with a positive statement.
Last modified on Monday, 29 November 2010 02:15
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