You might remember the Lieutenant Columbo TV series, with Columbo played by Peter Falk? For the uninitiated, Lt. Columbo was that trenchcoat-wearing, cigar-smoking television detective of the Los Angeles Police Homicide Bureau. The show ran off and on from 1971 to 2003.
Columbo was an exceptionally successful detective. He used his humble ways and ingenuous demeanor to put people at ease, allowing them to open up and tell him things they otherwise wouldn’t. Here’s how this relates to your conversations with your spouse.
Imagine you meet a friend from your youth whom you’ve lost touch with. It’s been years since you saw each other. Sure, it’s a nice surprise and you’re both pleased to meet.
But it feels a bit awkward, after so much time. It’s not the same anymore. There’s little to say aside from the usual “Do you have any kids?” or “Where do you work?”
The same thing happens to so many married couples. One day, they wake up and realize that the person lying next to them is a complete stranger.
Have you ever tried to apologize, but ended up in a much bigger fight? You wanted to say you were sorry, but then you said something that really set your partner off?
Admitting when you’re wrong is hard. Knowing when, and especially how, to apologize earns you appreciation and respect. On the other hand, doing it wrong consistently makes you look like a jerk. It builds resentment, and soon, your partner will probably start behaving the same way. Therefore, this post is not about preventing you from messing things up, but what you can do about it afterwards.
It’s often said that marriage is about sacrifice and compromise. That doesn’t sound so great, does it? The reality is, though, that in much of your marriage, you will be in constant agreement to do something, one way or another, with more than a large gray area in between.
This can be anything from picking where to go out for dinner, to where you will go on vacation this year, and similar things. Or it can mean more serious decisions, like moving across the country because your partner got a promotion, and now you have to leave your friends and family behind. Agreeing to do something, when done properly, can enhance a feeling of connection and harmony, while the opposite leads to frustration, anger, depression, and all sorts of really toxic behaviors.
Say you bought something in a store and it doesn’t work. You call the company’s customer support. Whether you are right or wrong, two scenarios can unfold.
In the first scenario the customer support representative goes into defence mode. Without even knowing the details, they start implying it’s your fault, making you feel like an idiot. In the process, they’re making you angrier by the second. In fact, they are making you feel sorry you bought their product in the first place.
Do you have disagreements with your spouse? If you do, congratulations! That means your relationship is alive and kicking. All happy couples have conflicts. If you didn’t have any, I’d be worried for you. That’s because when you don’t care enough to disagree, your relationship may just as well be dead.
In this post you’re going to learn how to express disagreement in a structured and non-threatening way. If you can handle complaints (and even criticism) without feeling attacked, you can turn any disagreement into a connecting exercise that only makes your relationship stronger.
Imagine you’re a small business owner. A difficult issue comes up and it involves one of your most valuable customers. You know each other for years and they’ve been there in the good times and the bad times.
But something has come up and you need to have a sincere talk with them. So you pick up the phone. Then what?
Have you ever been on a diet? Has it ever happened that while you were going toward the fridge, you were telling yourself, “I shouldn’t eat that cake, I really shouldn’t.”
Then your hand somehow got into the fridge. You actually saw it going in there! You grabbed the plate with the cake, took it out, and ate it. What happened?
Have you ever met someone who just seemed to end your every thought with “but?” It starts to get annoying, right? It feels like nothing you say is valid, because they know better.
It seems that in our society every other sentence contains the word ‘but’. The other person says something, and we soon follow with a big ‘but.’ Beware, though. ‘But’ is a little word with big consequences.
Great listeners listen to understand. Lousy ones listen to reply. Here’s another truth. Great listeners also know how to ask so they get a meaningful answer.
In this post you’ll discover how to formulate your questions the right way so you will be able to get your spouse to open up—no matter how distant they feel.