>If you don’t know, then I’m certainly not going to tell you…

Okay, wait… HOW am I supposed to know this about you, if you don’t tell me? I hear this a lot from women and men who find their intended partner, and expect to  be living immediately in a Titanic – type love affair. Trust me, Leo and Kate would have had some serious arguing ahead if he’d actually lived longer than 48 hours after meeting her!

Listen up -The evidence of your love is not in magically knowing things about each other- it’s in your consistent interest in learning about the other person!

If this is your pattern – if your partner screws it up – again and again- and you keep getting mad because it wasn’t what you wanted, follow these three steps- (and a fourth if you’ve already tried 1-3)

1. Shut your mouth. Clamp it, before something nasty comes out.

2. First ask yourself, “How important is this to me?”

2a. If it is indeed important, ask yourself, ‘How would my partner know this about me? Have I told them before? I mean, really told them, like it was important to me? Did it just fall out in the middle of a tirade, did I throw it out off the cuff, or make a joke about it?’

3. Acknowledge your partner’s effort, for what they did try to do. Then gently, lovingly remind them of the thing that’s bothering you.

Ex: “Sweethart, thank you very much for getting me this beautiful, juicy hot dog, with extra sausage… but remember, I told you, I’m a vegetarian?!”

Now, the fourth step, for those of you who have been down the ‘nice’ route a million times, you can still do all of the above in the moment, if there are other people around.

4. (optional) Find a quiet place and time to speak with your partner about why it seems that they keep missing this piece of information about you. Listen with an open mind to their answer – it might surprise you. Let your partner know that this is an important piece of knowledge about  you and will help your relationship grow.

Ex: Them: “I bring you hot dogs because we were eating them when we first met. I thought it was romantic.” (hangs head sadly for extra effect)

You: “I’d love to talk about ways we can remember that first day we met, but when you bring me hot dogs, I don’t feel romantic, I feel nauseous.”

Before you assume this is just the way it’s going to be, try treating this as a solvable problem. Maybe just talking is not the cause of your issues – maybe you’ve lost touch with your partner to a greater degree. That’s what marriage therapists are here for – to help people reconnect and solve problems before they become unworkable! I’m interested to know how this works for you!



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