I Should Have Married a Mind Reader!

You awaken to the decidedly irritating noise of a vacuum cleaner or the lawn mower, take your pick. You squint at the clock. It's 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Groan, moan, pillow over head. You try to get back to sleep but you can't. You sit up, feeling annoyed, resentful and guilty all at the same time. Lovely. This is gonna be one of those Saturdays. You flop back down on the bed trying to figure out escape maneuvers into some peace and quiet.

In any of this, do you communicate effectively with your significant other, source of the above irritations? Highly unlikely.

If you're a guy, you probably yell, "Can't I get some peace and quiet around here?! Is that too much to ask?" If you're a gal, you probably dish out a healthy dose of the silent treatment for the next few hours, punctuated with martyred looks and sighs.

All because you don't want to ask for what you want. Oh, you're willing to demand or manipulate, but how about just plain old ask?

"My mate should know what I want by now! We're not new to this relationship, it's been 5-10-20 years. Can't my supposed sweetheart have the slightest bit of consideration for what I need, for what I deserve, without my having to ask for it?"

Maybe. In fairy tales. But as you no doubt figured out early on, real relationships take more than the wave of a wand or some magical thinking. They take communication of all sorts, including speaking up for what you want. Appreciate it! Value the fact that you can open your mouth and have a reasonable discussion with your mate about things. Recognize that all your Saturday morning happiness depends on, for example, is a switch in focus from your present "woe is me" stance to an empowered and empowering "let's talk about it."

Having to ask doesn't mean your mate doesn't love you, it simply means he or she is not a mind-reader. Which is a good thing, because let's face it, you probably wouldn't want them actually reading every thought that crosses your mind. Requiring them to be a mind-reader is crazy-making. Even if your beloved can pretty much guess what you want, chances that they'll get it right every time, or time it just right aren't good. They'll feel like a failure, and you'll still be unhappy. Not a good scenario.

Switch your focus. Quit your martyr/victim routine, step up to the plate and take responsibility for what you want, need and deserve. Engage your mate in a friendly, loving dialogue where you assume that he or she really wants to be there for you in every way, and that you can--together -- always work out ways to satisfy most of what you both want and need.

"Honey, I'll be happy to help you with the chores on Saturday. Do you think we could maybe not get started until around 8:00? I could sure use the extra rest. I'll bet you could too."

No, you won't get what you want all of the time, but you'll get a lot more of it more often. Most importantly, you won't be grinching and irritated, with the subsequent ill effects on your long-term health and well-being, because you'll know if something isn't working for you, you can talk about it, you can ask for how you'd like it be different.

What a relief.