As cliché as it sounds, my husband is one of my best friends. One of the things I love about him is how easy he is to talk to. Because of this, he’s always my go-to for anything I need to vent about. So many times I go to him with some long drawn out story and at the end of it he either says nothing and just kind of nods in agreement, or he chooses to give me advice. I usually find myself getting frustrated with whatever he decides to say. I either didn’t want him to offer me a solution or I just wanted to vent and let him tell me it would be ok, or if he said nothing at all, I would get upset, and ask him why he had nothing to say. In these cases, he often made the joke that he could never say the right thing.
This was the case until we found a quote that changed the way we communicate.
One day, I came across a meme that said something like: “There is one simple question that has saved my marriage: ‘Do you want comfort or solutions?'” I immediately sent this quote to my husband and his response was simply, “Wow.”
That simple little question has solved so many things for us, and has become a funny joke or ice breaker. Now, when we have a discussion and I am ready for his opinion, he just asks me: “Do you want comfort or solutions?” Depending on how I am feeling, I am able to tell him that I either need his advice or I just need him to tell me everything is ok and my feelings are valid. My husband is extremely approachable and we have such different ways of thinking, so a lot of times his advice or view point is something I had never thought about and it provides a different way to look at things. But sometimes, I just need to get it out and I usually know what the solution is so I just need someone to listen. He can’t read my mind, so by asking me this question, my husband knows exactly how he needs to respond and we both leave the conversation understanding each other more.
This question has helped me be a better listener to my husband too. As a do-er and a fix-er, whenever he comes to me with an issue or topic, I immediately want to jump in and make it better. But now, he can simply tell me he doesn’t need a solution and that instead he just wants some comfort.
I know it is not a ground-breaking, amazing realization, but it has really helped us when we aren’t sure what to say. It is also a great question that you can ask your friends or your children if you aren’t sure what they need after confiding in you.