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10 Positive Ways for How to Get What You Want from your Partner

Updated on October 30, 2012

There are things that you want in your relationship that you aren't getting. Maybe you want your partner to be more open with you about things. Maybe you want help around the house that you're not getting. Maybe you wish that your spouse would make more of an effort in the romance area of the relationship. Whatever it is, you've identified something that you need or want from your partner and you're not getting it. How can you get it without ruining your relationship?

Here are ten tips for getting what you want from your partner:

  1. Recognize her when you do get it. Positive reinforcement works wonders with people of all ages. If you get what you need from your partner some of the time then recognize that and reward it with praise. Thank your spouse when he stops at the grocery store so you don't have to. Let your girlfriend know that you really loved it when she said hi and gave you a hug as soon as you walked in the door. The more you recognize the things that you do get, the more you're going to get them.
  2. Ask for what you want explicitly. If you're not getting what you want at all or the positive reinforcement isn't working then you might just need to be more explicit with your partner. Identify what it is that you want and ask for it outright. Don't be demanding; be upbeat and positive and let your partner know that he has a lot of great qualities but that there's something else that you want in order to be even happier in your relationship.
  3. Be willing to bargain. Sometimes our partners don't necessarily want to give us what we want just because we ask them. That's a tough thing to be told by your partner but there's no point in fighting about it. Nagging your spouse to do something just because you want it isn't going to work. Be willing to compromise. Ask him what he wants and give it to him in exchange for what you want. This works best with tangible wants like splitting up the chores.
  4. Make a logical argument for why you should get what you want. You may find that your spouse isn't giving you what you want because he doesn't see the point in it. You want flowers and he thinks it's ridiculous to make this gesture just because you want him to. You want the bathroom cleaned once a week and she doesn't think it needs to be cleaned more often than once a month. If you can make a clear argument for why you should get what you want then your partner may come over to your side.
  5. Think of creative ways to get your partner to like doing what you want him to do. You want your husband to do more of the cleaning around the house. Nagging him isn't going to get him to do it - or if he does, it's going to make him resent you. But get him a cool gadget like a Dyson vacuum or a even a robot that helps with the work and you just might find that he's interested in helping out a whole lot more than he was before. Think about what would make the thing you want more appealing to him and offer that up as a suggestion rather than just begging him to do what you want him to do.
  6. Accept the way that your partner does things. You want her to make dinner for the kids more often. However, when she gives them cereal for dinner, you get annoyed. It feels unfair because you make elaborate meals and she just takes the easy way out. Wait a minute; focus on the fact that you're getting what you wanted - she's making dinner for the kids so that you don't have to. The two of you aren't going to do everything the same way but if you're getting what you want out of the deal then don't complain.
  7. Make it fun. Relationships that really last are relationships where things remain fun. You want a partner that you can laugh with. You want a partner that you can enjoy spending time with. If you want something, make it fun for both of you. For example, you might want more romance but the idea of reading poetry in the park with you isn't fun for your spouse. How about going to an outdoor movie or staying in bed together on a day when you're both supposed to be working? Another example - you want him to do the dishes; hang out in the kitchen with him and chat about your day as he does this task for you. Making what you want into something fun for both of you is going to make you both happier.
  8. Have others show appreciation. This goes back to the first tip here; if you're already getting what you want some of the time then drawing attention to that with positive recognition is going to allow you to get more of it. This time, though, let the recognition come from somewhere else. Have the kids thank Mom for what she's doing that you wanted her to do (if that's appropriate). Or mention your appreciation to mutual friends when you're out together (ie ... "I've been catching up on reading lately because Jane is doing the nighttime ritual with the kids. I'm so lucky!!)
  9. Commit to being a "giving" couple. Many couples argue all of the time about what the other person doesn't give to them. What an awful relationship to be in. Instead, sit down with your partner and talk about committing to giving each other as much as possible. Instead of focusing on what you want from your spouse, focus on what you can give to him. As long as he's doing the same thing, you'll end up getting what you want and you'll both be happier in your relationship because of it.
  10. Recognize what you already get. If you still can't manage to get what you specifically want from your partner and you still think that it's a relationship worth being in then you should focus on everything that you get from it. Instead of wanting what you can't have, learn to want what you already do have. This is a great positive way to approach life. A gratitude journal is a great way to recognize what you already do get from your partner. Celebrate it!

An important note - you should know what you really want before you try to get it from another person. Oftentimes, we think that if we just get something specific from our spouse then we will be happier. Oftentimes, that isn't actually true. You may think that you want more romance when what you really want is more time alone; if you don't go after the right things in your relationship then you're never going to get what you want. The most important thing is to know yourself.


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