Saturday, February 28, 2009
Acknowledging Needs in Marriage
Men are said to have difficulty expressing needs because it appears weak, while women expect men to be able to telepathically read their needs. These stereotypes exist because they have some basis in fact. Couples frequently fail to communicate needs, then become emotionally distanced.
However, these stereotypes are also exaggerated. I always remind myself that every couple went through a dating phase in which they communicate their needs, their desires for the future and show a willingness to meet their needs. Certainly, the connection that results in marriage includes sharing needs.
What makes the couple better able to share needs during dating than after marriage?
I believe the difference lies in the couple's goals during the dating phase of the relationship. When dating, the couple are sending a message that they want their partner in their future. This desire for a future together motivates both partners to share their needs and to reassure one another that their needs will be attended to.
After marriage, the couple loses motivation to preserve their future, assuming a future after the marriage vows have been given. This is an assumption that makes little sense given the odds of divorce. Remind yourself and your partner that you want a future together.
Communicate your needs while showing interest in your partner's needs. Initiate conversations that provide an opportunity to share fantasies about your future together. Share what makes needs will need to be met for you to remain satisfied for years to come.