Making Demands VS Making Requests


Most fights are fueled by unmet needs like the need for a kind touch, meaningful words, fun, financial or emotional support, sex, meals, romance, space, gifts, affection, meaningful conversation, quality time, a tidy house, and acts of service. When those needs aren’t met we tend to get frustrated and do one of three things.

  • Go silent and fume to ourselves, “If they really loved me they’d meet my needs. They don’t care!” Remember, it’s not fair to expect your spouse to give you something you never ask for. They can’t read your mind.
  • Explode in anger with non verbal messages that say, “I’m going to make you meet my needs with guilt, shame, manipulation, pouting, anger, and arm twisting.” Remember, God loves a cheerful giver and so do you. A need met out of obligation, fear, or to dodge your wrath isn’t a very meaningful gift.
  • Nag, pester, whine, and pout, “My happiness depends on you; you’re my oxygen and until you shape up I’m going to be moody, surly, and uncommunicative.”  Remember, this comes across as controlling, codependent, and childish.

A better way to get your needs met is to make a request without being demanding. What’s the difference?

Requests are made with calmness.

If requests are ignored we stay calm.

They don’t hurt the one we talk to.

Requests lead to discussion and negotiation.

Responding to requests is freely given.

Respondents feel equal to the one requesting.

Requests come across as kind and open.

Requests are like a vitamin in a relationship.

Meeting a request leads to growth and change.

Requests are a forgotten ingredient in communication.

Requests are easy to give if you don’t have childhood wounds.

If done right requests don’t sound nagging.

Requests are free of criticism.

Requests inspire our partner make good requests.

On the other hand….

Demands are made with agitation and anger.

If our demands are ignored we explode.

Demands usually hurts, intimidates, or angers the one we talk to.

Demands lead to fights and verbal jousting.

Responding to demands can lead to resentment.

Responding to a demand makes us feel subservient to the one demanding.

Demands come across as controlling and bossy.

Demands are like poison in a relationship.

Meeting a demand leads to reactions and frustration.

Demands are a damaging ingredient in communication.

Demands are easy to give if you have childhood wounds.

If done wrong demands ARE nagging!

Demands are loaded with criticism.

Demands inspire our partner to retaliate and make demands, too.

Take turns talking calmly making your request. To Make a Request finish these sentences with actions that are clear, specific, doable (don’t ask for the moon), brief (don’t ask for twenty things at once), and positive (IE ask them to do something, not stop doing something):

  • There are certain things that you do that trigger my frustration. It would be helpful and healing if you would…
  • There are certain things that you do that trigger my fear. It would be helpful and healing if you would….
  • I have unmet needs and it would be helpful and healing if you would…
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1 Comment

  1. berthamakes

     /  December 26, 2012

    Reblogged this on Bertha's Blog.


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