My Husband Opposes Everything I Say: How To Deal With Argumentative Spouse

It is important to communicate with "I" messages for the obvious reasons. The most immediately obvious advantage is that "I" messages are not as likely to elicit defensiveness. With this communication change, we are more likely to be heard and more likely to actually accomplish our communication goal. When using "I" statements, we are describing ourselves, teaching the other person about ourselves, disclosing our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. In the process messages we are becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. With putting ourselves out there, we are taking ownership of them.

When we are using "you" statements, there is a tendency to label, blame, defend, and bypass feelings altogether. With "you" statements, we make the other responsible for our feelings. When we reveal ourselves with this straightforward statement about self, our listener has an opportunity to hear and deal with our feelings, thoughts, and intentions. They are able to hear about the issues that are going on with us in the present. They are able to deal with messages that get at the actual issues.

With "You" statements, the other person has to hear and deal with our opinions and judgment of them. They often receive opinions about their past failures and expectations of their future failures. With "you" statements, we are saying things that immutably sets their set their identities (i.e., you are...). They would have to do a lot of sorting through all this verbiage to get to our issue, which is transitory. Instead, they receive hear criticism and blame.

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The real statement is embedded within "you" messages and usually pretty hard to find. The listener may never actually get to know and understand the real issue that we are trying to communicate. These projections of blame and responsibility are often accompanied with absolutes, like "always" and "never". The use of "Always" and "never" virtually guarantees that you will not be heard. When people tell us that we "always do [this]" and "never do [that]", we immediately think of the one time that we did do [this] and didn't do [that]. We either completely dismiss the general content of what they just said, or negate it. Don't handicap your communication with these words (always, never).

Most people use the indirect "you" rather than the direct "I" because it feels safer to do so. With the direct approach we are more vulnerable. With this indirect, projective stance, we feel more protected and safe. We are much more likely to be misunderstood with the indirect approach. With a direct approach, the other person will understand what we are saying and they will be free to say, "I don't care", or "I don't want to." It's harder to protect ourselves from hurt and rejection when we know, in fact, that we were heard and that someone that we love is not interested in what we want, need, or feel. Nevertheless, we are still more vulnerable with the indirect approach because it creates an environment of hostility and self-protection in the other person.

An argument is much more likely to ensue with indirect rather than direct approaches. Try these "I" messages, to see improvement in communication in your house. Write them down. Post them on your refrigerator next to your Fair Fighting Steps.

I want...
I feel...
I need...
I will...

Change the way that you communicate with the people in your life if you want to be understood and if you want to move to the next level of effective problem solving. "These "I" messages are a cornerstone on which to build a new foundation for effective communication, then ultimately to building powerful problem solving skills.

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Not only do individuals who follow Time Magazine's "Eight Steps Toward a More Satisfying Life" suggestions (Time, January 17, 2005, p. A8-A9) increase their own level of happiness, they also increase the odds that they can keep their marriage.

The same actions that can lead to a more satisfying life are the ones that can help to improve a troubled marriage. Two of the Time suggestions are to count your blessings by keeping a gratitude journal and to learn to forgive.

These same steps are necessary to maximize a spouse's efforts to cope with a marriage that is in danger of falling apart. In their book Keep Your Marriage: What To Do When Your Spouse says "I don't love you anymore" co-authors Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D. and Lee Hefner also advise spouses to keep a gratitude journal.

According to Wasson and Hefner, this might seem like a strange recommendation, but it's when things aren't going well that you most need to look for the positive things that are present in your life. They write, "A gratitude journal gives you a nudge to remind yourself of the many blessings already present in your life...Being aware of your blessings gives you a broader, more balanced perspective of your life."

This, they contend, jump starts the process of being able to see an increased number of positives instead of overlooking them as people in crisis often do. While spouses may start out listing positives such as watching a beautiful sunset, the process makes it easier for them to begin noticing what's right about their partner and marriage instead of only focusing on the negative aspects.

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The co-authors also agree with the Time suggestion of learning to forgive as a key ingredient in a happy life. They state that "Forgiveness involves letting go of resentment and blame. It's something that you do for yourself when you are ready to let go of depleting anger." Wasson and Hefner contend that shaky marriages are usually full of grudges and hurts from the past.

According to Dr. Wasson, "Someone has to take the lead in making healthy changes that can change the present dynamics of blame and resentment. One partner deciding to forgive themselves and the partner for not being perfect can have an amazing impact on the marriage and its chances to survive the crisis."

The Time article recommends writing a letter of forgiveness to the person who has hurt or wronged you. Co-author Hefner sees this as a "courageous step of taking responsibility for your own happiness and well-being, as well as the health of your relationship."

According to the Time article, University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a.k.a. Dr. Happiness, has found that loss of a spouse is one of two life events that seem to "knock people lastingly below their happiness set point." (The other is loss of a job.) Seventy-three percent of participants in a recent Time poll responded that their relationship with their spouse or partner or their love life is a major source of happiness.

Based on the current findings, Wasson and Hefner state that it makes more sense than ever to recognize the potential of a marriage to boost happiness and health and to work to keep and improve it.

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The people who you love and trust the most always holds the key to your happiness. Since our beloved is our major source of happiness, the very same person is also a major threat to our happiness. It may not be true at all times. But most of the times, they will end up hurting you and the one thing that hurts most is that it is done deliberately and most of the times without their knowledge to take us for granted.

Time is the key for the kind of trust and love that we have for a particular person. We invest most of our times caring and thinking about our loved ones. Although, we generally tend to develop some kind of expectations for these people whom we love and trust the most; we need to try to visualize things or behaviors that we expect from them or the way they react to something that we did for them.

Even a small drift from the reality from the expectations that they have will lead us to the ultimate disappointment. We may feel betrayed or feel devastated at those times. We need to let people know that even if we love them from the bottom of our heart, we also need to show them we have higher self-esteem and be willing to cut them off of our life.

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Even the most successful couples can fail at communication when emotions run high. Words can be spoken before brains are put into gear. The hurt, resentment, or anger can make the best of us lash out because we often mix loving and trusting someone with expecting them to behave the way we think is proper. Ideally, it should be the opposite. If we love and trust someone we should accept them, try to understand them and avoid judging them.

Getting hurt by other people's behavior is a sign that we expect too much from them or that we don't know them as well as we thought we did. They hurt us the most because we are more invested in them.

However, if they keep on hurting us, we need to decide if we let them go or not. History will just repeat itself. Many times, the decisions we make can affect and hurt our closest friends and family especially our kids. They are affected the most. The ones we thought would fight for us and love us more than we'll ever know, is the one we never thought will hurt us the most

We cannot live our lives for other people. We need to do what is right for us.

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People hurt each other all the time. Sometimes it's intentional, but many times it isn't. The same is true of marriage, but magnified many times over. The hurts seem to feel greater, because of the closeness of the relationship. So how do you get past these hurts and move forward? How do you become a couple married happily? An apology is a great place to start, but not the ending point. A simple "I'm Sorry" is not enough.

Although an apology is a great starting point that is all it is. Your actions are what really count. Saying your sorry, and then demonstrating it is what will really make a difference in your relationship. You see, the old adage "actions speak louder than words" really is true. You must learn to change your behavior, rather than just apologize. I'm sorry is the beginning of the process, not the end. It starts a new connection, a rebuilding of the relationship.

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To many times though, the apology is seen as the end of the process. Actions are not followed, and I'm sorry's become hollow and meaningless. The end result is a very damaged marriage. It's time to look at the apology as a stepping stone to healing a hurt.

An apology helps us come to terms that our behavior has hurt someone else. Now its time to take action to not hurt them again. This is not an easy process for anybody, and especially not for couples. I wish I could give you a magic formula that would help you, but I can't. I can however suggest that if you are really struggling with this skill, to seek help from a relationship expert. They are trained to help couples work through these types of relationship issues and can offer insights that will most certainly help.

Actions that confirm the words we have spoken will make a huge difference in your marriage. Be willing to say you are sorry, and then show you are sorry by not doing it again. Your actions will speak volumes to your spouse.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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