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One Great Marriage Trick

Marriage is full of compromise. Or at least, it should be. And if anything has taught me how to phrase, re-phrase, pause, evaluate, and listen before speaking, it’s marriage.

It might be easy to assume that I speak to my husband in much the same way that I write on this blog–with passion, spunk, a bit of edge, and a whole lot of Truth. While I’d like to say that’s the case, it isn’t always. Sure, my husband gets large doses of my sass (which he likes by the way),  and Truth (which he always receives with humility). Yet, when it comes to bringing up an uncomfortable subject, I have learned that nothing helps your man feel more like a man, than a whole lot of respect.

Of course, I didn’t always know this. I mean, I knew it intellectually. “Husbands need respect. Yadda, yadda, yadda,” but that doesn’t mean I felt convicted about this Biblical command to wives. But after putting my foot in my mouth too many times to count, I learned a very simple trick for bringing up something unpleasant to my husband without making him feel threatened or defensive.

I call it the “One for the Money” trick and it’s a good one…

Since we know that our husbands crave respect . We also know that showing them respect becomes critical in the ways we approach them about certain subjects. Married life can rapidly produce a laundry list of complaints, ranging from money issues, to work hours, emotional security to feelings of neglect.

The ideal scenario is us as wives, being able to bring up our concerns to our husbands in a loving and respectful way…and have them respond in the same manner. Now, we can’t control how our men will respond, but we sure can make sure we are doing our part to raise issues in a healthy and productive manner.

So that’s where the “One for Your Money” trick comes in. Although, the word trick implies we are doing something sneaky. I suppose it’s a bit sneaky, but really it’s just smart. Here’s how it works:

For every negative suggestion you desire to communicate to your husband, you must first preface with one positive affirmation. For example, if I want to tell Jonathan that he has been a bit distracted when he comes home from work as of late, I’m not going to just blurt out “hey, where has your brain been? I feel like you’re not here.” Talk about a quick way to shut him down and disrespect him.

Instead, I’ll freely offer up one encouragement to him in an area I have seen him do well and then follow that encouragement with a gentle and loving suggestion or question. It would sound more like this:

“Babe, I just wanted to tell you thanks for all your help in the mornings with the kids lately. I so appreciate it. I was noticing too though, that when you come home you’ve seemed a little more tired and distracted lately. How can I help you unwind when you walk in the door?”

Asking them questions about what we can do to help, often helps deflect any potential defensiveness and allows them to see our genuine concern. You give one encouragement and that affords you an opportunity to give one suggestion. It’s practical, straightforward, and works like a charm.

Sneaky? Maybe.

Helpful? Absolutely.

One for the money…

Do you like my trick? Do you have any marriage “tricks” of your own? How do you tend to discuss more difficult or uncomfortable topics within marriage?