Elvis has inspired me! “Duh”, you say. Let me explain. I listen to a lot of music. It is my therapeutic “feel good” inspiring tonic. Recently I heard Elvis’ song “You Asked Me To” and thought about an important topic that I encounter frequently in couples counseling.
So often I hear a person say that his/her partner “told” him/her to do something. Or perhaps, the mandated tasks were presented as a “honey do” list. This is just as bad. These “told” individuals feel talked down to by this parental feeling mandate – not respected. Except for your job, when you often have no choice or you’ll be fired, most people do not want to be “told” what to do. I know I don’t!
When I asked my lovely wife, Sherry, to marry me I emphasized two things: “Don’t tell me what to do” and “Don’t speak for me”. And she does not, for which I am grateful. Nor do I. We are both adults honoring each other with a more respectful form of communication.
Sherry does a great job of “inviting” me to do certain things. To which I willingly comply because I love her, feel respected, and she does not ask for anything unreasonable. Related issue is that she never nags me about doing something for which I am grateful. This is another concern for many couples. Being “told” and “nagging” are communication forms that best be put aside.
Unfortunately too many couples do not respect each other in these two matters. Thus, irritation, anger, distancing often result. Then the next problem is how to re-connect once this negative energy pervades their relationship.
Couples, I encourage you to ask one another if either of these forms of communication exist in your relationship. If so, make a concerted effort to “ask” or “invite” the other person to do something. Do not “nag”. And you won’t have to do this if your partner is a responsible “git er done” kind of person with mutually agreed upon tasks and goals. If that isn’t a reality then you have further problems to address!
Respect and trust are basic foundations for a loving relationship. Practice them often, especially in your communication – and you will have a better relationship!