How To Effectively Communicate With Your Partner


Q: Allana, I have an incredible husband who does so much, but I feel as if I've become the mistress to his job. He is constantly forgetting to do simple things. When I ask him to pick up the dry cleaning, he gets defensive because he doesn't want to be “that type of husband”. I don't think it is fair that he's getting upset when he is the one putting work in front of his home responsibilities. What do you think?

First, it is important to remember that people are who they are. They act according to their values. They're not right. They're not wrong. They're not good. They're not bad. They're just wired a certain way. And we choose people that are in alignment. The balance is finding a rhythm and ease between flowing the way their wired and the way you are wired.

You acknowledge that you have an incredible husband but that he puts work before the household tasks that you have delegated. So it sounds to me like he values the job which designates him as the provider.  When asked to pick up dry cleaning or other household chores, he thinks it's beneath him, inferior to him or that he's is not being respected or honored for being the provider for the family.  I get that. As for you, it upsets you because you have made a request that he accepted and acknowledged but then decided not to do it. He gets defensive, only escalating the situation. That whole dynamic isn't working. Let's go under and really get to what's going on.  Ask more questions like “Sweetheart, when I asked you to pick up the dry cleaning, does it somehow make you feel like you're my hired servant or that I don't appreciate you?” Or “Is this something that you think is my job, not your job, help me understand more why it seems to make you upset that I asked you this. I don't want to make you upset. I just really am happy when you support me and support the household. It just makes everything run so much more smoothly.” Be more curious about what's going on inside of him. I don’t know the dynamic of your background – are you working, not working but that may play a little into his perspective as well. Let's say you don't work and he might have this idea, this belief that I work, I don't do anything extra. I work, you don't work. You do dry cleaning and groceries. I don't know what his belief systems are but again that would a conversation to have. You need to get to the bottom of what's going on, then you can create this foundation of agreement.

In relationships, we find motivation to talk about what is truly important to use: sex, money, etc but the every day things may fall off the radar. We need to find a place where we can talk about expectations, about roles, and about our beliefs. We've got to talk about who's going to do what and what that looks like, what that feels like. How can we keep our word? Is this going to support the relationship? There's all these conversations to have.

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Basically, this boils down to creating a deep understanding. The two of you might be happily married in a lot of ways, but there is a disconnect that is causing a rift in communication. Remove the stigma, remove the fear, be willing to go deep and connect on a new level of understanding and you will be amazed how healthy your relationships can be.