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Honey, I Love You But...
  • Say what needs to be said without all the sweating, stress…or sleeping on the couch.
  • Hey, it's hard to be honest with your partner sometimes. Why tell the person you love something that might make them unhappy? (Well, because if you decide, “I’ll just keep this to myself” all the time, you're going to implode.) Here's how to be straight up without chucking that sensitivity chip.
  • Don't publicize it. Your spouse doesn’t want to hear it’s high time they cut back on the beer -- but it will be a lot easier to handle if you suggest skipping the suds more often when it’s just the two of you at home as opposed to crying out, “Not for him!” when the waiter offers you refills during dinner with another couple.
  • Time it right. News (particularly bad news) can take some time to process. If you know your partner has a big meeting the next morning, right before he/she goes to sleep isn’t the moment to reveal that you're dead sure that his/her mother has never liked you and you’d prefer she didn’t come to visit. Um, ever.
  • Don’t stall. If the issue is financial concerns or other time-sensitive matters, pipe up now, because the perfect moment will never come. Better they know about a broken budget now than find out by seething over late penalties on your credit card bills.
  • Be quick. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid -- do it fast and simple. If you’re admitting a bummer of your own (“My account is overdrawn”), over-talking can seem like you’re making excuses. If it’s something that can be construed as criticism (“It would be great if you tried foreplay”), yammering on about it will just make them feel attacked.
  • Clean up your own backyard. Uh, is it really fair to hit your spouse below the belt if you've excess baggage of your own? If you don’t have your own bad habits under control, prepare get that criticism hurled back in your face. So reframe it: If it's obvious that you both need to take better care of yourselves physically, say, “I think we should start hitting the gym.” They may still gripe, but at least they’ll know you're in it together.
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