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How can you create questions that invite you and your partner to dream together rather than damn each other with an agenda?

We talked about the difference between an invitation and an agenda in episode 49. Today, we’ll discuss how to replace the damnation in your questions with a dream to eliminate agenda and invite connection:

  • Well look at how an agenda damages the dream you have for your relationship
  • I’ll give you three specific words that help you change an agenda into an invitation
  • And in our date night discussion section, you and your sweetheart can laugh as you change oppressive agendas into an invitation you can’t resist

 

 

The way you talk to your partner impacts your relationship connection

Notice the difference between “Why don’t you ever clean the kitchen?” and “When is a good time for you to clean the kitchen?”

One of those questions has an agenda that damns your partner. A damned partner is NEVER going to clean the kitchen.

The other question assumes positive intent. Your partner wants to help, but is maybe finding it difficult to schedule.

The character of the questions you ask makes a big difference in your relationship.

 

It’s difficult to connect when you’re frustrated

You and I both know this phrase, “Why don’t you ever clean the kitchen,” is a cry for help.

I can hear how tired you are. I can hear the overwhelm. I can hear the frustration, the loneliness.

And, as much as I know this loneliness and overwhelm to be valid feelings, if this is how you ask for help, you’re going to remain lonely.

There is power in how you ask for what you want. The subtle, but tenacious toxicity of these sorts of why-questions are alienating your partner.

If you remove the damning “why” from your questions, you can invite your partner to dream with you instead.

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So how do we change the character of our questions?

You can turn a damning question like: Why do you spend so much money? Into a question that invites a dream: How can we save more money?

I’m gonna use 3 steps:

  • Use the “why” part of your question to see the damnation you’re pummeling into your partner.
  • Notice your feelings. This is a crucial step. Can’t skimp here.
  • Change the “why” into “what, how, or when” before you speak the question aloud.

 

Use 3 magic words to awaken the dream in your relationship

Experiment with these “why” alternatives to make your dream clear to your partner.

  • What helps you identify what you really want, or what’s currently missing.
  • When helps you to specify a solution.
  • How allows you to explore as a WE rather than blame with YOU.

What would it take for you to clean the kitchen? When is a good time for you to clean the kitchen? How do we want to share kitchen duties?

Can you feel the dream you’re trying to wake up in your partner with these questions? When you wake up that dream, you get rid of the harmful agenda.

Try this: 

This week’s habit for your happily ever after is to change damning why-questions into questions that begin with what, when, or how.

We’re gonna do this in 3 steps:

  • Notice the damn.
  • Notice your feelings.
  • Change the why to what, when, or how.

First step is to notice the damning nature of the why question you’re asking, either in your head or aloud. Why don’t you ever initiate sex?

Second step is to notice how you feel. When you notice your own feelings with curiosity and kindness, eager to offer yourself compassion, you are infinitely more able to offer compassion to your partner.

Step three is to wonder what do I really want to know?

  • What would it take for your partner to initiate sex?
  • When is a good time for your partner to initiate sex?
  • How does your partner initiate sex?

Wake up your dream to improve your connection

You have all the steps to turn your agenda into an invitation. You know how to change the character of your question to foster connection.

But this is still Big Work.

It may take a few tries to get it right. You may be so frustrated in step 2 that you need to take a few days before rephrasing your question.

It’s okay. Instead of focusing on the failure, try to wake up the dream.

You wake up the dream when you notice:

  • Notice the damn you feel.
  • Notice the dream you hope for instead.
  • Notice how changing the question inspire you to either dream of a bigger life or tempt you to find fault with yourself or your partner.

Date Night Discussion

This week I invite you and your partner to find a new wording for a handful of
damning questions that I hear on a regular basis in my coaching practice.

Take this list and challenge your partner to help you reword these damning questions into a question that invites a dream.

  • Why don’t you ever ask me to help you with cooking?
  • Why are you always going out with your friends instead of me?
  • Why is it that you get your glass all the way from the back bedroom to the countertop right next to the dishwasher but you can’t put it into the dishwasher?
  • Why can’t you manage to empty the trash?
  • Why don’t you ever initiate sex?

Did you find that, when you changed the wording on any of these questions that, suddenly you had an imagination you lacked previously? That’s the dream for your life waking up!

I want to hear from you. Tell me how you turn your agenda into an invitation when you ask these questions differently. Text me at 970-210-4480 and tell me your favorite insight that came simply from changing a damning question to one that dreams of a different life with your partner.

Want to stop arguing and start connecting with your spouse? This FREE e-course will offer you habits to improve your marriage communication so you can smile more and fight less. Sign up to improve marriage communication.

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