Mark: You’ve had one of those days, I’m sure. The days where you can’t seem to make your spouse happy. Everything you do is wrong. They’re impatient, easily frustrated, and just plain old fussy.
Jill: It’s easy to think that their mood has something to do with you. However, it’s entirely likely it has NOTHING to do with you.
Mark: A few weeks ago, we talked about recognizing when this is happening inside of ourselves and letting our spouse know “I’m just a little bit off today.” This gives our spouse a warning that we got up on the wrong side of the bed and we’re trying to work through it, while reassuring them it’s not about them at all and to please not take it personally.
Jill: Ideally we need to learn to push information to our spouse rather than make them pull it out of us. That’s what “I’m just a little bit off today” does. But what can we say when that hasn’t happened? How can we address it with our spouse without putting them on the defensive? Try this little phrase:
Honey, what’s going on inside of you that’s leaking out all over me?
Mark: This question recognizes that there is likely an internal struggle going on. It also indicates that the struggle may or may not have anything to do with me, but it is affecting me. Said in a compassionate, caring, gentle way, this kind and a little light-heartedly invites conversation and let’s them know you care.
Jill: When we’re struggling with something, sometimes we don’t know how to talk about it. We also might not even be aware that it’s leaking out. Inviting conversation with a small dose of accountability can be a gift our partner gives to us.
Mark: When our spouse is a little off, we need to believe the best in him or her. We need to recognize they’re human, they struggle, and they need our loving kindness even on the leaky days.
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