Trainer Tip: Clarifying our requests can make the difference between frustration and satisfaction, Mary shows you how. Trainer Tip We know that when people learn to communicateeffectively with each other, their lives and theirrelationships can be truly transformed.—Dr. Thomas Gordon Consider these common complaints: “My husband never listens to me.” “My wife is always talking about her feelings, and then she wants me to talk about my feelings too!” We understand the frustration behind statements like these, but if you find yourself making them, what specifically do you want? Or, put another way, what could your partner do in order to meet your needs? If your husband listens to you once a week, is that enough? Or would it need to be three times a week? Would it meet your needs if your wife only asked you to talk about your feelings twice a week? Or would you like her to never ask you how you are feeling? What is enough? Our job is to clarify the requests we make of ourselves and the people in our lives. In doing so, we should make our requests specific, doable, and immediate. For instance, a wife could say something like: “Honey, I’ve really had a rough day today, and I’d just like to be heard. Would you be willing to listen to me for fifteen minutes—just listen—without giving me advice or trying to solve the problem?” A husband could say: “You know, when you ask me how I’m feeling, I’m worried that if I don’t know, or if I don’t say it right, you’ll be upset with me. Would you be willing to hear me say how I’m feeling in my own words, without correcting me or commenting on my use of words?” In these examples, both speakers make it completely clear what they want from each other. In doing so, they both have a much greater chance of meeting their needs. Take the opportunity to be very clear about what you would like from at least one person today. This trainer tip is an excerpt from Mary Mackenzie's book Peaceful Living, available from PuddleDancer Press.