Getting What You Want: How Asking the Right Way Can Help You Get It

Most people are good at complaining and making negative comments about the things they aren’t happy with. It’s so easy to nag, pressure, nitpick and criticize. The critical comments roll off our tongues so easily; we often make them without giving them a second thought. Think about it – how many times have you voiced a complaint out of frustration? How often have you grumbled a comment at your spouse or partner like, “You’re never home?” When you stop and think about it, will that comment make your spouse want to be home more often? Most likely it will not. Asking for what you want in a different way can have dramatically different results – and just might get you the things you are hoping for.

Perhaps we don’t realize that our critical comments won’t get us what we really want. In fact, negative comments, complaints and criticisms are likely to cause arguments and drive our partners further away. How can we change the way we handle these situations so that we get the results we want?

Learn to ask for things effectively. There are three simple steps.

  1. Identify exactly, specifically what you want. (For example, instead of focusing on the fact that your spouse is never home, think of a time you’d like him or her to be home – perhaps for dinner together on Wednesday nights.)
  2. Keep the request brief.
  3. Put it into words so that your spouse is much more likely to oblige. Asking kindly is far more likely to be successful than making an insistent demand would be.

You’ll find that asking for what you want in this simple and direct manner will have wonderful results. Your comments will no longer become a point of contention or cause an argument. Instead, you’ll find that when you stop criticizing and complaining and ask specifically for what you want that you will be far more likely to get it.

Many clients I’ve worked with in the past have found this to be very powerful in areas of their lives where they used to feel powerless. Now they know what they want and can verbalize it. I’ve had clients tell me they’re amazed that now that they ask for things differently from their spouses, their spouses give them much more of what they want. In fact, one of my clients wrote in a testimonial on my website: “I can’t believe it was this easy all along, I just had to ask differently!”

Of course using these three simple steps to ask for what you want is not a magic spell. There will still be times when your spouse says, “no.” Even so, your relationship will benefit. Instead of becoming an argument or cold war, you can both move on. In cases where your spouse won’t or can’t do or give the things you are asking of him/her find a healthy way to get that need met elsewhere.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment here at Couples Therapy Center, call 908-246-3074, email or go to and use our online scheduler to find an appointment right now.

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