That’s right, playing the old, “if you really loved me…” card is manipulation. So are many other games that people play. While this and other tactics may actually cause our spouses to give in to us at times, manipulation is not good for our relationships. We’ve all done this or some variation but we need to move past such things and develop a deeper and more honest level of communication.
Voicing a need or a request should be enough in a close relationship. If your mate does not respond in a way that you believe is appropriate, discuss the situation and ask questions, instead of implementing tactics that seem to be and often are coercive.
Another common negative aspect of manipulation is that it tends to make our spouses feel as if they need to defend themselves. They feel attacked, as if they are being accused, and they may retaliate against such aggression. Instead of using such aggressive tactics, we would do well to be more assertive.
For example, instead of saying, “If you really loved me, you’d remember what I asked,” changing that to, “When you forget something I asked you to do I feel like my needs are not that important to you.” While your spouse may still defend him or herself, explaining that it really wasn’t intended to be a slight or that he or she honestly did forget due to being overwhelmed with other things, it isn’t as likely to result in a heated disagreement.
Rational encounters usually result in responses that are more rational. Attempting to “handle” our spouses or exploit feelings of guilt or inadequacy in order to get our own way or even in an attempt to get our needs met can be hurtful and damaging. We need to engage in more honest and mature communication.