How to Bring A Constructive Complaint to your Spouse

As much as you love your partner, there are going to be those moments when they get on your nerves.  It’s part of being in a relationship.

There might be times where you just ignore it. 

However, there are those moments when you just have to say something, because it is really getting under your skin!!! Right?

The way that we bring our complaints to our partner is vital for relationship success and marriages lasting, according to Gottman and his associates.  Research has found that in successful relationships, people use a soft start up style versus a harsh start up style.

Today, I am just going to teach you one element that is important for coming across with a soft start up style as opposed to a harsh one.

One thing that softens bringing a complaint to your partner is to not surprise them.

Human beings do not deal with surprises, our human instincts and survival mechanism goes off – even if it is just something as simple as your partner saying out of the blue “Hey, you really upset me or ticked me off.”

So, we do not want to do it this way. 

What is so much more effective and what I have had so many of my clients work on is going to your partner first and basically saying,  “Is your relationship Repair Counter or Customer Service Counter open to hear my complaint and resolve it for your complaints?

You want to set the tone first … And give them a heads up that you are moving into their relationship complaint territory. 

This really does soften things and comes across as a lot more caring if you say, “I have a concern I want to discuss with you.  It seems like now is a good time.  What do you think?”

Make sure that their Relationship Repair Counter is open, and then if they say “yes we can discuss it now” then go ahead and bring your concern to them.

Now, of course, I have had people to say to me, “Well, Stephanie what if my partner always says No?  What if they never have their Relationship Repair Counter open?”

In that case, I would recommend that you do not necessarily ask your partner if the Relationship Repair Counter is open.  However, you will still want to give them a quick heads up to see if this gives you better outcomes in getting your complaints resolved. 

So, in that case you would say, “I have a concern I would like to discuss with you.”

Go right into it.  So, do not ask them if the Relationship Repair Counter is open.  But do give them a moment.

Tell them you are going to bring them a concern and give them a moment to get in the right mindset to hopefully be able to respond to your complaint.

Then there are additional methods that you can use for a soft start up style.

Some of these methods you will be able to find on my website on the page where I have Free Couples Therapy Worksheets.

You can go there to find that information, and I would like to know how “soft start up” Relationship approaches are working for you in your relationship so please comment on my You Tube channel.

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