Repair Your Relationship

Step 3: Ask for what you want

Now that you know exactly what you want in your marriage, it's time to share your thoughts with your spouse. Although you might be thinking, "I've told him a million times what I want and need, it won't do me any good," you may have been asking the wrong way. In fact, lots of times your spouse thinks that you are doing nothing more than complaining. Complaints turn people off and build resistance. They don't spark a spirit of cooperation.

There are a few things you should keep in mind though before you approach your partner with requests for change.

For one, timing is very important. Although choosing a good time of day or week won't necessarily guarantee success, choosing a bad time will guarantee failure. For example, if I want to guarantee that my husband Jim will respond negatively to a request, I know exactly when to ask him:

  • Just before he leaves for work
  • When the kids are around
  • When he is preoccupied or doing something
  • When he is at work
  • When he is very tired and wants to go to sleep

As you read what I've written, you're probably thinking that Jim has a very long list of times that he is unapproachable. I'd have to agree. But there are lots of other times when he is more receptive: on weekends before the kids wake up, over dinner when we go out together and on his car phone when he is returning from work.

If you sit down and really think about it, you know exactly when your spouse is approachable and when he isn't. In fact, that's what I'm going to ask you to do right now. Even if you can't think of times you feel confident that your spouse is going to be responsive, I know you can think of times he won't be.

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