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Marital Communication - Influencing And Persuading Your Spouse

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Why does my husband always disagree?

Why does my wife put my ideas down?

One of the most irritating aspects of life as a united couple is trying to convince your spouse when they take a Macho attitude. Wives say that when they want to suggest an idea to their spouse, or get an agreement that a problem needs to be fixed, they are often faced with denial and negative attitudes. Husbands report that when they want to try something new, their partners often reject their suggestion without proper consideration. And both men and women say that they resent tiptoeing around on eggshells to avoid getting their life partners angry.

Some people seem to be constantly negative or skeptical. How can you influence someone who always looks for the crack or the loophole in what you say? Doesn’t it seem unfair that it's often with your life partner that you have the least credibility? What do you have to do to get taken seriously? It can be easier to just give up rather than spend time and energy trying to get people to listen.

When a person is running what we call a Macho Pattern, they operate as if they believe the following:

- They already know everything there is to know.
- They do not have any problems; they and everything connected with them are perfect.
- If there are problems, they are of someone else's making.
- They are better, higher, more important, and more knowledgeable than anyone else.

How many times have you made major decisions to assuage someone's ego or to prevent them from losing face? Just listen to media interviews. When the interviewer asks if someone were surprised by the turn of events, rarely if ever will the person admit to being surprised. That would be saying that they did not already know everything there is to know.

Once I sold a sales training program with optional follow-up coaching. No one took up the coaching offer because that would have meant conceding they needed help. Now the coaching is just part of the training program.

All of us have the tendency to become Macho at times. Notice your reaction when one of your parents tells you what to do!

To make sure that even your spouse will consider your ideas, you could use this Macho Test as an editing technique.

Is it anywhere stated or implied that?

1.There is something they don't already know,
2. I am telling them what to do,
3. They have a problem and I have the solution,
4. They are not perfect in some way, and/or
5. I am better than they are in some way.

If any of the above are stated or implied, it does not pass the Macho Test! You may wish to rephrase as follows:

1. As you probably know...Then state the thing you suspect they do not know
2. Use the language of suggestion: You may wish to consider...
3. I understand that other couples have had this issue and what some of them have done is... How have you solved this problem? (This implies they have already solved all the problems)
4. With your experience and knowledge in this area...
5. Your role is... My role is... (This lets you establish different yet equal roles)

Next time when you sense if you present a 'new' idea, your spouse will deny it's actually new, try suggesting that it may be something they have already considered. You probably already know exactly who all the Machos are in your life. Once rephrase your thoughts to pass the Macho Test, your spousal partner may become more willing to participate in the free flow of ideas.


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