I have the magic phrases that’ll do the trick. These come from Dr. Harville Hendrix and the book “Getting the Love You Want.” Dr. Hendrix says that we all have needs we expect our partners to meet.  But if they don’t meet those needs, we get angry, disappointed, disillusioned, and divorced. But by learning to make your needs clear – without lashing out – you’ll save your relationship.

To open up the lines of communication, agree to talk for half an hour each week. No snapping at each other and no interrupting – and start by pointing out something good that they did. Then, use phrases like, “What’s bothering me is. ” or “I feel. ” or “I need. ”. Using the words “I” and “me” – instead of “You” – as in “you don’t do this. ” will make your partner feel less defensive. So switch, “You spend too much time on the computer!” to. ”I feel lonely when you spend so much time playing computer games.” And here are a few magic phrases to have at-the-ready:

  • “I hear you”. If your partner starts yelling, say “I hear what you’re saying. ” It’ll calm them down because they’ll know you’re listening.
  • Another magic phrase: “It makes sense to me”. Let’s say your spouse spends too much money, say “It makes sense to me that you want to buy new things, but we really need to stick to a budget.” It shows you care about their feelings and they’re more likely to cooperate.
  • “It would mean a lot to me if. ” Instead of pointing out what you hate, state what you want. You’re more likely to get it.
  • One last magic phrase: “I love it when you. ” If your partner does something you appreciate, point it out! They’re more likely to do it again.