Many of us have a paltry vocabulary to connect with our feelings. We're pretty finesse with thoughts, interpretations and judgments. What's the difference you ask? Here are some examples:
When you don't greet me at the door I feel ignored.
Sounds like a feeling right? And we are in disagreement, if you think it is. "Feeling ignored" is an interpretation of the other person's motive. You are not in the person's head. Putting your discomfort on them and gifting it with attributes is emotionally lazy. Its also inarticulate. Lastly, it's not how to get what you want, unless what you want is defensiveness or a fight from your partner. For all you know, your partner has no preconceived idea around door greeting whatsoever. It may be a non-issue. Some families, some cultures, announce their home coming with regular flourish and others do not. Neither behavior is wrong or right, unless you are wanting more. As Marshall Rosenberg points out in his wonderful book, Nonviolent communication, (NVC) its fine to want more in relationships and marriage. Learning how to ask for what you want is self empowering. What is a better way to rephrase that statement? Consider what you are actually feeling:
I feel sad when you don't greet me at the door, (and follow it up with a direct request) will you please give me a kiss on the check?
What this statement:
You are ignoring me when you don't greet me at the door.
Sounds like a statement of fact right? It may be, depending on your tone of voice and your authentic feelings on the matter. More often this kind of statement is a judgment on the other person's behavior, a provocative judgment at that. You are making the other person "Wrong" for not greeting you. You may even have a belief that it's "wrong" AND you won't get what you want by stating your need in this manner. What about taking some responsibility for your own needs and feelings, such as:
I'd like you to greet me at the door, I feel happy when you do.
Compare that request with a demand:
If you don't greet me at the door I will perceive what an uncaring horrible person you are.
Yikes! How much will it mean to be greeted at the door, when you know your partner is doing it under duress? Demands may be popular, even make garner what you what, and they're no way to relate to people you care for. Many of the frustrations parents have with their children is over demands. "But I HAVE to demand he come in at 11:00" you protest, "there are some things you just HAVE to do!"
How's that working for you?
What about, "I would like you to be in at 11, because that is the curfew. When you are out after 11 I am afraid the police may pick you up for being out past curfew." This wording includes a request and a reason for the request (young people love to be treated as if they have some brains.) Perhaps there may be a transition period if there's been a lot of disharmony over this issue, so you may want to begin the conversation with: "How can I ask you to be in by 11 and have you hear me, without feeling bossed around