So what does a good attitude for the speaker sound like?
John Gottman, the foremost researcher on marriage in our country, called his approach to initiating a conversation about concerns in the relationship: "the soft start up".
Unfortunately, many people think that this means that you speak softly when you are expressing yourself. While it certainly helps to moderate your voice, the most important aspect of a successful conversation is again "the attitude" with which you approach your partner.
If you are already angry and on the edge of exploding because you have discussed the problem 100 times before without any success, it would be helpful to take some time by yourself to calm down. What do you want to accomplish? If it is to express anger and frustration, you will most likely not find a sympathetic ear. If it is to help your partner to understand why you are distressed about certain behaviors or interactions, than consider the following:
1) Remember before starting that this is the person that you love most of the time.
2) Can you start by giving the benefit of the doubt? Perhaps, despite your best efforts, there are reasons that your partner has not been able to respond to previous requests which either he/she or you do not fully understand.
3) If you do not want your partner to respond as an adversary, don't act like one. Keep the importance of the relationship foremost in your mind. This means that you may not get a resolution of your concerns immediately or that a compromise may be necessary.
4) If you want to be heard, it is best to ask for that before you start by requesting that your partner not respond or interrupt you; but take a few hours or a day to think about what you have said before getting back to you.
5) Communicate your willingness to be a good listener when your partner is ready to share with you about the topic you have raised.
Next Week-Why it is so hard to maintain a good attitude despite our best intentions