My friend was astounded when I told her my daughter and I have never fought. She really didn’t believe me. In fact, when she had a minute alone with my husband she asked him if I was kidding. He said, “No, she wasn’t.” My friend’s relationship with her daughter is fine, but not nearly as beautiful as it could be – according to her.

I’m non-confrontational by nature. I really don’t enjoy fighting with anyone, but when kids push your buttons, I can see why a fight might ensue. I prefer harmony, when people are speaking with respect and communicating for what’s necessary. I wasn’t always this way. There were times early in my marriage when I was curt. I wasn’t always conscious of how I approached my husband with my words. On occasion, my words came back to bite me and I learned, ever so slowly to choose more carefully each word, phrase and sentence.

I grew up with a mother who would slam cabinets when she was mad. She could be fun to be around but she wasn’t deep and wasn’t conscious of her own reactive behavior. If you asked her the wrong question during dinner, she might just get up and drive away and be gone for hours. The next day it was as if nothing happened. This was dysfunctional of course, but at the time, it seemed normal.

As I grew up and had my own kids, I was really conscious of being kind and considerate of their feelings. My husband was too. We never barked orders at our kids. We asked politely for them to do what we wanted them to do. We were always firm and consistent but loving.

Yoga helped me with this. Yoga taught me to be more responsive than reactive – to pause and think before acting. I really practiced this so as to be aware of all my communication. Was it kind, was it loving, was it necessary?
I’m not sure where we picked this up, but my husband and I began to use these three words whenever we wanted something done. Are you ready? Here they are:


That’s right! Instead of having expectations of your spouse or kids doing things without asking, why not incorporate these three little but powerful words to keep the peace and still get what you want? These three words are filled with respect. They don’t assume anything. They don’t degrade or frustrate or anger the recipient of these words.

Many people have expectations that are way out of line with reality. Like the woman who expects her husband to be affectionate when it’s not even remotely his love language. Or the husband who expects to have sex all the time while his wife doesn’t have nearly the same sex drive. How about parents expecting their kids to respect them when they show no respect to their kids?

Here are some ways to get what we want without creating a scene.

*Honey, will you please take out the garbage?
*Sweetie, could you please give me a hug?
*Junior, will you please empty the dishwasher?
*Missy, will you please make your bed?
*Honey, could you please come here?
*Son, will you please switch out the laundry for me? Clean the pool? Feed the dog?

You get it by now. Of course you don’t have to use the exact three words, “Will you please” but some variation of that almost always gets you what you need or want with almost no fuss. Don't think this makes you a weak person or a beggar of sorts. It's quite the opposite. When you choose your words carefully, they tend to have more power. You appear to have it together when you are asking instead of ordering.

There are many variables that make up a harmonious home. Using these three words is just one; however, used consistently over time results in an elevated level of respect between all parties. I did a lot of positive things with my kids and used my best judgment and best communication. I can think of a few times when I didn’t use my best judgment; however, my kids don’t dwell on those occasions.

There are two other words that make your communication even more powerful. They would be:

Thank You!

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Kneller is the publisher of Midlife Living Well, a lifestyle website an online magazine providing solutions for midlife living. She also teaches yoga in the Scottsdale, AZ area.

For more information and solutions to midlife issues, visit
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