Complaining to Your Spouse
Whether you’ve been married for 42 years or dating for 42 days, your loved one may have an extra-special talent for getting under your skin–and tying your tongue. Toronto social worker and relationship expert Sari Shaicovitch says the key to complaining effectively is to “lay everything on the table.”You need to sit down together and calmly spell out what is bothering you. “When people do not express how they feel, they end up holding resentment toward their partner, which comes out in aggressive ways,”she says. Unresolved frustration can be dangerous for a relationship.
Besides sex and power dynamics, one of the most common complaints among couples relates to money. It’s important to be specific with your spouse about what you want. For example, explain to your partner that you’d like to spend less on a cable football package or a movie network and spend more on your date-night budget. But be prepared to compromise. You may agree to allocate more cash toward the cable bill if you can find inexpensive ways to spend time together. Or you may agree to watch a few rom-coms at home if you can spend the rest of the entertainment budget on hot dogs and beer at the stadium.
No matter what agreement you reach, do unto others. “You need to be prepared to hear your spouse out the way you would want to be heard,”says Shaicovitch.