A fight, another fight, the same fight that seems to happen over and over again. One spouse feels neglected by the other spouse. “I need help around the house”, “I need to go fishing”, “I need affection”, on and on. We all have needs that need to be met. There’s only so much you can give. In a marriage putting the needs of the other above yourself is key, but what happens when your the only spouse applying that concept? Your left feeling alone and unloved! It’s not always your spouses fault, sometimes you have to be the strong shoulder when your spouse is struggling and has nothing left to give and vice versa. The problem comes when it becomes habit for one spouse to give and the other one takes. Marriage takes both people giving!
Sometimes we try to put the needs of our spouse above us but we’re not sure what those needs are. We try to give advice when they are just looking for comfort. We try to give words when what they need is actions. We take what they do with gratitude but still have that need, a hole if you will, that needs to be filled.
Then comes the fight, when we finally crack. We try to talk to our spouse about our needs and it comes off as ungrateful. We say we need more of “this” and they say your not grateful for “that”. Then comes the guilt of not making your spouse happy or not being grateful for your spouse on and on. Why does it have to come to this? Why does talking to your spouse about what you need have to be such a fight?
The trouble comes from a handful of things. First, we hold it in. We keep our needs to our self not wanting to offend our spouse. In reality we are trying to protect our spouse from getting their feelings hurt but we end up hurting them more. We sit and hope that our spouse will just magically know what we need from them and do it and each time they don’t our frustration builds. “Why can’t he see that I don’t need this right now I that?” Second, we let it come out at the wrong time. It’s the cycle of holding it in until our frustration has built up so much that we can’t take it anymore and we snap! I need words of affection, he tries to show his affection by buying a gift. I get frustrated trying to explain to him that the gifts are wonderful but I need words. Often times it starts out as being a simple need and as it grows we become less and less reasonable. Like with this situation, we tell ourselves that he doesn’t understand me, he must not love me or else he would put forth more effort, he’s only buying me gifts because it’s an easy way to get me to shut up. These thoughts become over dramatic. We blow up! We get angry and begin expressing all these illogical thoughts we are having. All these over the top thoughts happen from a small need that we didn’t address right when we first started having it. Third, our spouse thinks that all his effort has been for naught. We get angry we had a need and he was just supposed to know what it was and fill it. While we’re spewing anger he’s sitting there thinking of all the effort and love he has put into you, he thinks he must be a terrible husband because those things he did obviously weren’t enough. He had know idea that’s what you needed, how could he?
How can we stop this constant cycle? How can we break the chain?
The magic question!
What if I told you there is a question to stop all of this?
Sit down as a couple and implement this one rule, every day, once a day you ask each other a question. “What do you need from me today?” A simple question that holds so much power. This question helps each of you express your needs without hurting one another. It will also guarantee that your spouse knows your needs and can now meet those needs. There are 4 rules that come along with this question, first you must both ask each other this question every single day. Second, along with expressing what your need is for that day, tell your spouse something that you love about them or are grateful for that they have done that day. Third, keep the needs small and not materialistic. This isn’t a what can I buy you question, this is a what can I do for you type question. Keep it small, telling them you want an hour full body massage isn’t very reasonable, if you need a massage from them because you’ve had a long day ask for a simple foot massage while your watching TV or a back massage right before bed. This excersize is not meant to be a selfish excersize, keep your spouse in consideration when telling them what you need. Fourth, you MUST follow through! There is no point even asking if your not going to follow through! If they tell you they need to cuddle with you then cuddle, if they say that they would like help doing the dishes then do it. Make this time you spend, a time to focus solely on your spouse!
Try to be understanding with your spouse and understand that they are just human. They have needs just like you. You may not always understand why your spouse feels the way they feel and have the needs that they do, the important thing is that you respect them.
Enjoy your spouse, enjoy the opportunities you have to serve them, and continue to love on!