When there is an issue that you’re bumping up against in your relationship, it’s good to remember the very basic skill of the gentle start up. If you find yourself becoming resentful for whatever reason, remember to bring that up in a gentle way. That gentle start will always get you much further than complaining and blaming your partner, no matter how justified that blame may be. Does it matter if it’s ‘justified’ if it only serves to cause more conflict? A relationship, remember, is not held at court. How we say things matters just as much as what we say — and how we say things can make it much easier for our partner to respond with gentleness in return (and isn’t that what we’re hoping for?!).
A gentle start up might sound something like this: “When I’m the one doing what feels like 90% of the work around the house, I can feel resentful, frustrated, and angry. I need us to figure out a way to distribute the chores differently.”
Being gentle and kind with your words initiates a conversation that’s peaceful and connecting. A harsh start up, a demand, an accusation, can put your partner’s defenses up and slow down any progress. People can hear when you’re sharing from your heart — but if you angrily demand what you need, if you use harsh words, sarcasm, or passive aggression, your partner might feel the urge to ignore you, shut you out, or feel resentful. Make it easier for them to respond well by sharing your needs in a calm, honest, vulnerable fashion. That will make it easier for them to receive what you’re saying and act upon your requests — which is what you want in the long run, isn’t it?
The gentle start up makes it easier on your partner to respond in kindness. That brings a resolution more quickly for you, which means everyone wins.