The Power of "I want" Statements For Adults


Ever notice when we want someone to change their behavior we have a list.  We keep a list of their alleged infractions, then go down the list of what we think they did wrong and then we wonder why they revolt!

What we say:

“You know you are always late.  The other day you were late and I had to get dinner ready and the kids and now I’m stressed out.  Why can’t you ever be on time?”

“You know you are angry all the time.  Why can’t you just relax and be happy.  You practically bit off their head and they were just trying to help.”

What we really want:

To know that we are important to our spouse.  To have a happy spouse.  To feel close to our spouse.  To have sex!

The schism 

Think about what we say vs what we want.  How will those statements create what we say we want?  What usually happens when we use those statements? Exactly.  So why do we continue to use these statements?  How does this serve our goals of happy, close and sex?

Take YOU out of the conversation

Give yourself the 3 day challenge.  Every day when you want to communicate with anyone TAKE YOU out of the conversation.

Replace you with I WANT or I WOULD LIKE or IS IT POSSIBLE?

Change “You are always late” to

“I would like to prepare a nice meal where as a family we are together, because I love you so much and love spending time with you and I get really excited when I think you will be home.  Is it possible to text me if it looks like the meeting will run late?”

Change “why can’t you relax” to

“I would like to help you with some of these tasks because I love you and you do so much.  I just walked in the door so give me 5 minutes to change (use this time to decompress and unwind) and then I’ll be right back down to jump in and help out.”

Do we have to mean it?

No.  If we are willing to change our patterns, we will get results.  That is the bottom line.  We our programmed to react a certain way.  Based on that reaction we have trained our spouses how to react to us.  If we change the pattern; we will by the very laws of cause and effect get a different result.  Try this for 3 days and let me know how it goes.

A few more tips:

Do you think you have a selfish spouse?  Then stop doing for them.  If they are late, eat, put the food away, and leave the dirty dishes for them.  Sometimes “doers” are control freaks and “do it all” ….resentful.  Stop DOING.  Make room for your spouse to do and you may find they are happy to help as long as you stop controlling the way they help.

Do you think your spouse is angry?  Then stop ignoring the problems.  Quite often angry spouses are married to passive spouses.  The more one spouse gets angry, the more the other spouse withdraws and becomes more passive.  So have a voice.  Say listen I love you and I want to help but this is how I am going to help and it is possible that’s what really matters?  My love for you and that I want to help vs how I’m actually doing it?

Check back tomorrow for The Power of “I want” For Children

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. C. E. Turner

    The words always, never, and ever always never, ever exist. But, do I use them? You bet I do and ‘always’ regret them, because they are ‘never’ really applicable, and I ask myself afterwards, “Will I ‘ever’ question why I am really upset before I put my foot in my mouth again?”

    1. Larina Hintze

      Charlie you ‘always’ make me laugh 🙂 I noticed the language never and always in the negative statements. Maybe that could be another blog to discuss how always and never limit us and box in others.

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