You barely make it through the door after a particularly “challenging” (oh how you hate that word) day at work, when your spouse thrusts the baby into your arms, aims the three year old in your general direction and cries on his or her way out the door, “Hon, you take them, I gotta go chill.” Grr . . . She/He has to go chill? What about you? Like you’ve done nothing all day but had pleasant conversations with an easy-going boss and oh-so-nice co-workers?! Oh, please.

Or – you awaken to the decidedly irritating noise of a vaccuum cleaner or the lawn mower, take your pick. You squint at the clock: 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Groan, moan, pillow over head. You try to get back to sleep but you can’t. You sit up, feeling annoyed, resentful and guilty all at the same time. Lovely. This is gonna be one of those Saturdays. You flop back down on the bed trying to figure out escape manoevers into some peace and quiet.

In any of this, do you communicate effectively with your beloved, source of the above irritations? Highly unlikely.

If you’re the guy, you probably yell “Can’t I get some peace and quiet around here?! Is that too much to ask?” If you’re the gal, you probably dish out a healthy dose of the silent treatment for the next few hours, or succumb to guilt and, with a scowl solidly fixed on your face, get with whatever program your spouse has going.

All because you don’t want to ask for what you want. Oh, you’re willing to demand or manipulate, but how about just plain old ask?

“He/she should know what I want by now! It’s not like we just met. Can’t he/she have the slightest bit of consideration for what I need, for what I deserve, without my having to ask for it?”

Maybe – in fairy tales. But as you no doubt figured out by now, real relationships take more than the wave of a wand or some magical thinking. They take communication of all sorts, including speaking up for what you want.

Having to ask doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t love you, it simply means your spouse is not a mind-reader. Which is a good thing, because let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t want them actually reading every thought that crosses your mind. Requiring them to be a mind-reader is crazy-making. Even if your beloved can pretty much guess what you want, chances that they’ll get it right every time, or time it just right aren’t good. They’ll feel like a failure, and you’ll still be unhappy. Not a good scenario.

Be willing to step up to the plate and take responsibility for what you want, need and deserve. Engage your sweetheart in a friendly, warm, loving dialogue where you assume that he or she really wants to be there for you in every way, and that you can – together – always work out ways to satisfy most of what you both want and need.

“Honey, how about if you hang tight for about 15 minutes after I get home so I can re-orient myself and get settled in, then I’ll be happy to take the kids off your hands for a while.”

“Sweetheart, I’ll be happy to help you with the chores on Saturday – do you think we could maybe not get started until around 9:00? I could sure use the extra rest, and I’ll bet you could too.”

No, you won’t get what you want all of the time, but you’ll get a lot more of it more often. Most importantly, you won’t be grinching and irritated, because you’ll know – if something isn’t working for you, you can talk about it, you can ask for how you’d like it be different.

What a relief.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books, including her most recent, Your Man is Wonderful ( and Dangerous Relationships. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all those who inhabit it. Visit for more. Check out the Toad to Prince Contest at Deadline for entries is August 31.