Use feeling words like sad, mad, glad and scared to describe emotions. Saying “I feel (sad or glad) …” is better than saying “I feel THAT YOU …” Once you say the phrase “that you,” you stop describing feelings and switch to a judgment you are about to lay on your partner.
You can say, “I feel scared when you [drive so fast].” Replace the specific words and action descriptions with words that fit your own situation. Notice how differently you react when your partner acknowledges his/her own feelings.
Your weekly assignment, should you choose to accept it:
Practice filling in the blanks: I feel (emotion) when you (an action). Start the conversation by each of you completing the sentence using the word “happy” as the emotion word.
This is an excerpt from Being Happy Together: How to Have a Fabulous Relationship With Your Life Partner in Less Than an Hour a Week, by Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.