He’ll Hear You If You Tell The Truth (And Leave Out The Story)

We humans love to hear and tell stories – but when disagreements arise, it won’t help you get closer to your guy.

by Jeffrey Levine

In the book called “A Whole New Mind – Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future,” the author talks about how telling a story enables you to communicate in a way that your fellow humans – and your guy – can naturally understand.

However, in the arena of disagreements and high-stakes conversations – and especially in the years long, day-to-day of a marriage, telling a story rarely helps the situation! In fact, I advise my clients to steer clear of their story because it’s your story that’ll get you into trouble.

When you remove the story completely, you’ll have a far greater chance of being heard by your husband.

How Your Story Can Take All The Juice Out Of Your Marriage:

Guys often aren’t great listeners as it is – and when you launch into a story there’s more of a chance that he’ll hear it as judgment and blaming. You see, the problem is, even if you mean what you’re saying in your story, guys think that you’re “making stuff up.”

I recommend that you strip the story from your communication and instead focus on expressing your truth – cleanly and clearly – without the story.

Let’s look at a simple situation:

Your guy has agreed to fix that broken cabinet door for months. You’re worried that your dog or toddler is going to get in there and it could be potentially dangerous. Despite his promises to handle it, another weekend passes and it’s not done.

What might the story look like? It might include phrases like this:

“You’ve been saying for months that you’re going to fix it and still haven’t. I wish I could rely on you but I can’t.” (finger pointing and blaming), or…

“You know, your son could get stuck in there and get really hurt” (making stuff up), or

“Just like when you said you’d trim the trees and fix the pool – just another example of you not keeping your word. You’re unreliable.” (judgment), or

“How many times have we talked about this?” (guilt)

Your story is your attempt to build your case and in some cases justify your anger.

In marriage, it feels like that’s what you’re supposed to do – hash things out.

But the truth is, you don’t need to justify it – you’re entitled to your anger and your disappointment in him!

The question is, how do you enroll him in making a change?

Not by blaming him.

Not by telling him a story about his past failures.

The only chance you have of shifting his behavior and getting him to hear you and make a real change is by communicating your feelings in a direct, clear and non-judgmental way. That’s the only thing that’ll work.

Try This Instead:

“Tom, I know you’ve been busy. And there’s something I need to share with you. I’m having a problem and I don’t know exactly how to express this. Is now a good time for us to talk?”

You’ve set the table that the conversation might be challenging, and you’ve asked permission to have the conversation now, or to find a better time.

You continue: “Tom, I really rely on you, I realize that. And when I need you to handle something in the house, and you don’t do it, I don’t know how to express it to you in a way that doesn’t start a fight.”

Do you see how this gets the conversation off on a completely different foot than if you told your story?

Then ask in a direct, clear way for what you want: “Tom, I’m not going to feel comfortable until the cabinet’s fixed, so I really need for you to fix it within the next couple of days. If you can’t please let me know so I can hire a handyman to do it.”

Forget the story. Speak your truth without blame and judgment.

Jeffrey Levine is a corporate coach and trained mediator (and Rori Raye’s husband) who works with both men and women to improve their communication, deepen their connection and remove the blocks that keep them from feeling and expressing love. He is the author of “How To Talk To A Man”, which contains invaluable advice, tools and solutions to help you avoid common relationship pitfalls, and clean things up when they go south. “Every moment presents a new choice for you: a decision about what you want – and what you believe you deserve.”

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