Fight Less In Your Relationship By Making This One Simple Change

Is there a difference between a question and a demand? Is asking the same thing as requesting? Is there a nuance that is being lost on couples around the world at this very moment? We will answer all these questions and more. Welcome to our TedTalk.

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Relationship expert Margaret Paul says there is a clear distinction between the two, and the sooner we understand it the better our relationships will be. According to Paul, a question “becomes a demand when the other person does not have the right to say "No" without getting punished in some way by you.”

Blah blah blah enough explaining. Here's an example:

R = Relisher P = Partner

R: “I’m so beat tonight. Do you mind doing the dishes?”
P: “I’m wiped out too. Why don’t we just leave them until tomorrow?”
R: {Immediately enraged} “You know how I hate leaving a dirty kitchen overnight. I feel like I can never count on you to pick up the slack when I need you to…” {Rant continues}

OBVIOUSLY this question was really a demand, because you were punished for the “wrong” answer. Here’s the far superior way to do it:

R: “I’m so beat tonight. Do you mind doing the dishes?”
P: “I’m wiped out too. Why don’t we just leave them until tomorrow?”
R: “We totally could, I just hate waking up to a dirty kitchen. Wanna knock it out together really fast?”

Here’s another example: You and your partner just got a puppy (yay!) and you've been taking him (Rocky) to behavior classes and potty training. You’re both exhausted from sleepless nights. Here, you ask your partner to take Rocky out before bed.

R: “I'm headed to bed. Can you take Rocky out before you go to bed?”
P: “I’m wiped too, I’ll do it first thing in the morning.”
R: “Well in the morning it’ll be too late! He’ll have gone somewhere in the house, and I’ll have to be the one to clean it again–” (Grabs leash and stomps outside.)

Again - the question was obviously a demand because the "wrong answer" set you off like a stick of dynamite. Here’s what that same interaction would’ve looked like had you phrased it like a real question:

R: “I'm headed to bed. Can you take Rocky out before you go to bed?”
P: “I’m wiped too, I’ll do it first thing in the morning.”
R: “I know you’re exhausted, but I know if he doesn’t go out now we’ll another accident. How about I take him tonight but you do it tomorrow?”
P: “It’s a deal. Thanks.”

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Essentially - it’s not the actual question that is the issue. It’s the reaction the response gets. If you don’t freak when your partner rejects your request… it’s a question. If you do: it was a demand. The moral of the story isn’t to stop asking for what you want. That’s an important part of being in a relationship. Just make sure you’re really asking.

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