How do you talk to your spouse about things that bother you? How do you share what’s on your mind without all hell breaking lose?
Here’s what we do: It’s called ‘Be Costco’ to each other. Here where we live is a very popular store called Costco. Almost everybody shops there. It’s a large warehouse type store where you purchase almost everything in larger quantities. For a family of 6, it works great for us. Their return policy is second to none. We’ve seen the craziest things people return. We have returned a few things ourselves. Sometimes when buying the clothes, you don’t know if it’ll look good or even fit until you get home and try it on. But every time we have had to return something, we get the same response…nothing! They just ask for our card and continue with the return. Often we will just offer why we are returning it but they don’t ask. It’s kinda weird in a way. Mostly because you think they might say no you can’t return that, or expect an explanation, or make you feel guilty or stupid for returning it. But no, they just continue with your request, no questions asked.
This is what we have decided to be to each other… Costco. Whenever we have something that is bothering us, we open the discussion with “I have something I need to talk to you about” (a return). This automatically puts the other person in Costco mode. We have decided that we will respond like Costco and give each other the time and space to share what’s bothering us…no questions or excuses or whatever might come as a result of hearing your spouse talk about how you’ve done this or that. It gives each other the confidence that they will be heard and that a positive discussion will happen as a result. Once the transaction has been made,(the return has been completed by sharing), then a discussion is allowed to happen.
The great thing about being Costco to each other is that you know you will be heard without fear of being ignored or blamed, and that a safe place has been established to make complaints or requests. There have been many times we’ve tried returning things to stores where the transaction did not go well. And the result is you not wanting to go back to that store to shop. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you just don’t want to ever shop there again. Works the same in a relationship. If you know you can safely talk about anything, it takes a huge load off both spouses. Likewise, if there is always a fear of being blamed or yelled at or ignored when something needs to be talked about, it can cause undue stress in any relationship.
Today, establish in your relationship that you will Be Costco to each other. Commit to each other that you will always give each other the opportunity to approach any situation just like Costco does… no questions, no blaming, no fear, no fighting.