Asking for What You Need? Go with the Oreo

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There are three ways to ask for what you need from your husband or wife.
The first is the plain vanilla wafer approach. “It drives me nuts to open the kitchen cabinets and see that mess in there. Will you please clean them today?”
The second in the chocolate chunk granola with cranberries and macadamias approach. Who knows which part of the request to pay attention to? “My parents are coming next week, and the grass is so long that there are toys hiding out there and no one would want to sit on that patio, but there’s not enough room to sit in the dining room because of your book-sorting project.”
The method that works best is the Oreo approach. Start with something positive, make a related request, and end with some more of the good stuff. Here are two examples.

“You keep the kitchen counters so clean and orderly. I would love it if you could keep the spices inside the cabinets this clean and neat, too. I know some people don’t care about stuff like this, but I am crazy proud of the way our kitchen looks when the cabinets are closed.”

“Think my parents will notice what a great job you did on painting the back of the house? Do you have time to mow the grass before they come tomorrow? That would make it look even better, and then we can eat out on the patio and won’t need to empty the dining room.”

When your request is the creamy filling in the middle of the cookie, it confirms you appreciate your spouse’s best qualities and hard work and would like more of his or her best.

“We have survived so much together, mostly thanks to your incredible ability to see a better future no matter how bad or final the present moment might look. Will you help me avoid sinking into depression over our current financial problems? I trust your visions even when I cannot yet believe them, and they help.”

“You really look so sexy tonight with your hair like that. Would you like to try something new? I want you so much right now, and I think you will really like this.”

“I can’t forget how great it felt to have your support when I went back to school and go my degree. I would really like to write a book this year. Will you be my champion, my cheerleader, my shoulder to cry on one more time?”

“Will you please put on that super hero cape of yours and whisk this trash out to the curb before the truck gets here, while I stand here admiring how great your butt looks since you got back into bicycling?”

Almost everybody loves Oreos.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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  • Soooo Clever! It is sad you can said you can start or end a war with the same sentence. Same applies ofcourse to your every day conversation with your partner, but when you are frustrated, that is always never in your logic. The highlight for me of your article:
    “Will you please put on that super hero cape of yours and whisk this trash out to the curb before the truck gets here, while I stand here admiring how great your butt looks since you got back into bicycling?”

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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