Fix It or Feel It
By Evan Page
Have you ever started talking to your spouse and only a few minutes into your story they start offering advice that you just weren’t wanting? Or maybe you’re lying in bed catching up on the day’s events, telling him or her about something at work that keeps stressing you out, and once you’re done talking, all you get from the other side is a, “Wow, sounds like a really hard day.” What you really wanted was someone to give you some feedback, and now you’re bothered. Does it seem like, either way, you just don’t seem to be getting the support or advice from your spouse when you need or want it?
My husband and I came up with a simple and easy phrase to express if we want emotional support or help problem-solving with a situation. It’s been a game changer for us, and it is simple, easy and clearly states what we are looking for from our spouse. I would love to share … Are you ready for it? O.K., here goes, “Fix it or feel it?” Seems simple enough to say, right?
So, here’s the breakdown. “Fix it” means that you are looking for them to give input or help in navigating a situation. You are expressing to your significant other that they have the freedom to speak their advice or thoughts into what is going on when you are done speaking. This means that you are looking for them to be engaged, and you have an attitude and willingness to hear what they may have to say.
“Feel it” is about needing emotional support. If you are in a situation where you want someone to listen, you can tell your spouse, “This is a feel it situation,” before you even start talking. This way he/she can be attentive to listening to you, and it is very clear that you are not looking for feedback at this time. Once you’re done, no matter how badly your spouse may want to give advice or input, they know to simply keep those thoughts to themselves and express love and appreciation to you. Later, if you’re ready for it, you can go back to and let them know you’re ready for advice if you feel like it’s appropriate.
One of the greatest benefits of using this expression is not only that it helps communicate what your needs are, but it also gives your spouse the opportunity to meet those needs. So, next time you catch yourself in the middle of dangerous terrain, not sure whether to give advice or just listen, simply ask your spouse, “Is this a fix it or feel it situation?” Hopefully this simple, yet sweet expression, can be as helpful to you as it has been to us!
Evan Page lives in Hilton Head Island with her husband, Stephen, and her two boys, Merrick (3) and Wake (2), and they are expecting their third baby in August. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and most of her days are filled trying to capture adventures with her children on camera.