Whether you are in a new relationship or a long-term relationship (especially marriage), being able to say no without guilt is important to your own well being as well as the well being of your relationship. In the past, it was not acceptable for a wife to say no. Over the years, things have changed, and spouses, especially wives, can freely be expected to voice their opinions when they feel the need – this includes saying no.
So how can one achieve that, especially without the feelings of guilt? When we talk about saying no, most people immediately think of sex. But saying no is an everyday part of life. Whether it’s going out, staying in, watching a program on TV, having more children – you name a situation and there will be a possibility of no. The following suggestions take account of a wide variety of situations.
Highlight the negatives of a yes – if you can highlight that saying yes could be a problem, then you may even see your partner saying no before you do. Example: your partner wants to go out for dinner and money is tight – suggest that dinner out may postpone your mortgage payment and affect your credit score.
Highlight the positives of a no – same situation, different approach; suggest that a home cooked meal is already planned and it’s one of their favorites.
Use delaying tactics – same situation as above; suggest that tonight is a not a good night, but you’re willing to consider it tomorrow.
Propose an alternative – in this case, an alternative may be to take out or a movie and something light.
Have rules in place – one of the most effective ways of controlling the nos is to have a set of rules in place. Using the first example, you may agree on a rule that says “no dining out until the monthly mortgage payment has been made.”
Be honest – this is the hardest, but in a good relationship it should be the easiest. Just saying “no, we can’t afford it today” should suffice. In relationships that are not so secure, the previous tips could be useful.
Marriage counselors come across this problem all the time. Creating an open communication channel between you will resolve this problem easily and quickly since you are able to use the ‘be honest’ tip from above. No one should ever feel a need to be guilty over saying no – after all, it is our right.