Saying “I Do” To Good Couples Communication


Empathizers, half of whom are men, are driven by emotions. Instigators, half of whom are women, are driven by logic. Which one are you and your partner-to-be? Here are some tips from the TALK2ME© communication system to help strengthen communication between you and your opposite type communicator partner beyond the wedding and into your future:

Empathizer-to-Instigator: What to say when you need Instigators to listen and support you?

Empathizer: I need you to hear my feelings out because that helps me feel as if you are supporting me in our wedding planning. Furthermore, I need to feel supported because, as a female, I am expected to do most of the wedding planning.
(Empathizers need to hear words of praise).

Empathizer: I understand that feelings make you feel anxious, but when you tell me that I’m not being logical, I hear: “You don’t have a right to feel that way.” Please understand that we can both be right in how we think and feel.
(Instigators think predominantly using logic while Empathizers focus on emotions when communicating).

Empathizer: I may know that you appreciate all I am doing to make our wedding a success, but I need to hear that you appreciate the hard work I have put into the planning.
(Instigators feel their worth when they do things that need to be accomplished, but they may not realize how much Empathizers need a pat on the back).

Empathizer: I know you may feel that talking won’t solve the problem at hand, but right now I just need you to listen.
(As an Empathizer, what you may really want from your Instigator partner is for them to     LISTEN, but you might suggest to them that they ask questions in order to help them focus on the conversation. They will then be able to gather a better understanding of what you need from them.)
Empathizer: Could you give me your advice/opinion on….
(Instigators love to give their opinions on things. Asking your I-type might be the best     way to get their feedback about the wedding).

Instigator-to-Empathizer: What to say when you need Empathizers to stop talking and get the ball rolling?

Instigator: I know that talking helps you deal with the issue at hand, but what I need to hear from you is what you want me to do to help fix the problem.
(It might help if your Instigator partner tries to avoid distractions or multitasking during a discussion, so that they are able to better focus on what you are communicating to them.)

Instigator: It makes me feel helpless when you reiterate your feelings and I don’t know what you need me to do to help. What can I do?

Instigator: I know that your emotions are running high, but if you try to deal with this right now, chances are your emotions will get the best of you. Can I help you by trying to relay how you are feeling, but in a calmer, more collected manner?
(This could help if there are issues with vendors, and your partner knows, as an Empathizer, emotions might further complicate the situation.)

Instigator: I may need a while to think about this issue, because as a logic-based thinker, I need some time for thinking things through.
(As an Instigator, you don’t understand why your bride-to-be keeps asking your opinion on things and then getting upset when you don’t respond quickly.)

Instigator: Could you be more direct and state what it is you need done, and give me an absolute deadline by which it must be finished.
(It might be helpful as an Instigator to let your bride-to-be know that you will do something by a specific deadline, so you don’t feel like she’s nagging you. This also might  help you feel good about checking something off your list…and it will also clue you in as to  what she needs and when.)

Talk isn’t cheap…it’s priceless. You will avoid many collisions on Talk Highway by knowing the key differences and preferences of your opposite communicator type of Instigator vs. Empathizer.


‘Talk Doc’ Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a communications psychologist, coach and relationship counselor from Dayton, Ohio.

Avoid Communication Meltdowns–The Leading Cause Of Divorce


Are you invested in setting your marriage up for success? Would you like to avoid the bad habits that slowly rot away a relationship until resentment sets in like a colony of termites, eating away at the foundation of your marriage? You may think that the stressors you feel mounting between you and your beloved will disappear after the wedding ceremony, and you will live “happily ever after.”

The secret that communication experts won’t tell you: The foundation of good communication is built during the wedding planning process. If communication is one-sided, such as the bride being more responsible for decision-making than the groom, it sets up the bad habit of lazy communication. Lazy communication means you aren’t building the house of your marriage on a solid foundation but instead on quicksand. Your ship of dreams is destined to get lost and then sunk in the Bermuda Triangle of Anger.

The main reason most marriages fail is the absence of communication that leads to lack of compromise. This, then, leads to relationship depression, which results from a lack of change. Communication habits are born during the wedding planning process! One-sided communication during the wedding planning process kills off the chances of your long-term success. When relationship partners are depressed by the stress of the misunderstandings that result from lack of effective communication, they grow apart. The wall that develops between the couple leads to separation in every sense of the word.

One bad habit is avoiding discussing difficult issues, which results in no resolutions forthcoming. Good communication, and hence a good marriage, takes work. After all, marital life is a two-way communication highway! Beware: Resentments quietly and quickly add up and act as anchors that weigh a couple down, causing disengagement and laziness.

So, both the bride and groom must be assertive communicators from the get-go of the planning process, if they want to have an insurance policy against divorce. The key to your success? Knowing whether you are an Empathizer or an Instigator communicator. (To find out what your or your partner’s communication type is, just go to for a short assessment and free analysis.)

You Empathizers likely find that your I-type partner appreciates your eagerness to reach a compromise in a difficult situation. Also appreciated is the fact that you have the ability to put yourself in their position, keeping you from being too quick to judge. However, your Instigator counterpart may find it difficult to relate to your passive-aggressive tendencies. With this in mind, try being straight to the point with your Instigator partner about what you perceive a problem to be, since the I-type better understands when things are concise and to the point. Ask, “What is your opinion on…?”

Instigator types, you will find that your Empathizer partners appreciate how organized and focused you are in finding solutions to problems. The E-type also appreciates how driven you are when you are working to accomplish a task. However, your E-type counterpart might become upset when they perceive that you aren’t listening. Try to listen actively to what is being said, repeating from time to time what you hear your partner saying, just so they know you are listening. Ask, “What can I do to help? I get frustrated when you go on and on about your feelings but don’t tell me what you need.”

Good communication habits, such as listening without interrupting, giving verbal appreciation to your partner, going the extra mile to walk in the talk shoes of your partner, taking time together to explore differing emotional beliefs, fighting fairly (no blaming/name calling/back turning/sarcasm/complaining to friends, etc.), profit the relationship and deepen closeness, loyalty, and bonding. Set these habits up now, before making one more wedding plan! Your marriage ceremony isn’t nearly as important as positive marital communication.

Bad habits create meltdowns or explosions. Like a volcano that erupts, when your partner has a blow-up, the lava and ash will burn everyone…and some injuries can be too large to heal or get over.


You do want to be better, not bitter, communicators, don’t you? Congratulations on using million dollar talk tools that work wonders!


‘Talk Doc’ Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a communications psychologist and relationship counselor and coach from Dayton, Ohio. Talk to Dennis about free communication sessions at 937-428-0724.

Exhibiting Empathy


What if you’re an Instigator husband who has miffed his Empathizer wife by neglecting her wants and wishes? In the TALK2ME© system, Instigators win big when they adopt the Empathy Factor, which is so prevalent among Empathizer communicators. How do you respond in a nurturing way, even when there isn’t much time to do so?


Empathy is defined as identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives. If you have been there, done that, then you can be empathetic. To convey your empathy to your conversation partner:

  • Be quiet in your mind – don’t allow your mind to spin a million miles an hour
  • Do unto others, as you would like others to do unto you
  • Pay attention to what you’re seeing and hearing
  • Respond – walk in the shoes of your partner
  • Demonstrate empathy to others
  • Show you care
  • Don’t worry
  • Listen more


No, the Empathy Golden Rule isn’t, “He who has the gold, rules.” What is the impact of empathizing with an Empathizer spouse? “It makes me feel special and appreciated when you help out on little things.”

The relationship results? Happiness. Thankfulness. Time savings. Laughter. Deep appreciation…all well-worth the effort of a tiny little, “I understand.”

“Talk Doc” Dennis O’Grady provides relationship help, family business consulting, and TALK2ME© positive and effective communication training for teams.

The Couple Commitments

Devoted couples put time and energy into practicing new driving skills on the two-way communication highway. Not speaking, or not speaking up, is simply not an option.

As a loving couple, do you live these effective communication commitments to keep anger low, and joy and contentment high?

1. DO NOT FEAR COMMUNICATING. Don’t talk into outer space, but look at your partner and speak in a calm tone of voice.

2. HEAR EACH OTHER OUT. Listen deeply and completely, and don’t interrupt or jump in to make a point.

3. DO NOT SNAP AT ONE ANOTHER, but walk in your partner’s shoes to seek to understand his/her viewpoint.

4. DISAGREE WITHOUT BEING SHARP-TONGUED. Don’t throw knives at each other when there is a disagreement.

5. DO NOT PENALIZE WHEN WE GET MAD. Don’t stop talking, talk down, give the cold shoulder, or talk to others about problems when stressed or angry.

6. DO NOT BLAME EACH OTHER FOR FEELING OUR FEELINGS. Accept that throwing sharp rocks of resentment leaves scars on each other’s faces and puts our marriage on the rocks.

7. FIND MIDDLE GROUND. There doesn’t have to be an argument when opinions do not match. Strive to find the middle ground which will benefit our relationship.

Are you a Toxic Talker or a Tender Talker?  Why spend half of your marriage angry or upset with each other, as a majority of married folks do?


Is your heart connected to your head? The choice is yours to make. Don’t let communication errors generate anger, which will run your love into a ditch.

Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a relationship communication expert and TALK2ME© RELATIONSHIP COMMUNICATION seminar leader. You can test your communicator type and receive a free report at

Profitable Communication

Are you profiting from positive communication? Principle: Better communication; better profits. What Million Dollar Talk Tools are you using today?


I’ve got to tell you, Dr. O’Grady, I’m grateful for your TALK2ME system. All the same, I don’t like referring to it like computer stuff – systems! Maybe it could be a program or something….I was almost amazed at how effective it was, once I used the talk tools at work. I expected it to work, but I had never imagined that there would be exponential results. I really did not anticipate that ripple affect to the team. I was worried about being tweaked or changed as a person, instead of improved as a communicator. I was scared if I talked to you and you changed me too much, I would lose the edge that I want to keep as part of me. Now I know that I had nothing to worry about….

The thing that most surprised me, even though everything you told me made sense, was that it was the first-in-a-lifetime experience. I was out of my element. But it really did lead to astonishing results.  C.


What one strength will you purposefully use to create profitable communication moves that benefit us all?  These are the top picks TALK2ME Class 14 told me were bold ways to set yourself up for success…

Take 10 seconds to listen, even when you think there is no time.

Be more sincere.

Be a little more patient. Listen more than 30 seconds to the situation.

Be more understanding how other people feel, and respect their thoughts.

Give tons of “attaboys” and “attagirls.”

I think I’ll just take more time to communicate more. I’ll get back to good communication to recharge my batteries.

I will refuse to let any situation escalate into a yelling match.

More bold. Be straight to the point. Don’t beat around the bush.

Be more patient and not blow up so much.

Don’t always be so polite.

Be more positive.

Be willing to change. Take 10 seconds to listen even when I think I don’t have time.

Remember, when you learn you earn! When you learn to communicate better you grow and change which leads to profits of all kinds!


Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the founder of New Insights Communication, a coaching and relationship counseling practice located in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. O’Grady is the developer of the innovative communication program TALK2ME, based on his  Talk to Me: Communication Moves to Get Along with Anyone textbook. His executive coaching and relationship communication tools are  targeted at the areas of positive communication, leadership development, and change management. You can reach Dr. Dennis O’Grady at 937-428-0724.