When couples give feedback to one other, it tends to be negative. The information typically describes what their partner is doing wrong—which is often critical. Another perspective is to talk about what you need from your partner. In this way, if you’re expressing a need, a want or a preference, you are giving clearer direction about your desires in the relationship. 

Another way to think about this comes from a client who works in a corporate setting. One of his pieces of training talked about giving ‘feedforward’ rather than ‘feedback’. Feedforward is telling a colleague or supervisee about the results you are wanting from him or her versus feedback. This shift puts the focus on what one wants in the future instead of the traditional ‘feedback’ which focuses on how someone underperformed in the past.