“You’ll never get what you need by demanding what you want.” Matthew L. Jacobson
Has anyone come to you within the last week and asked you, “What do you need?” or “What can I do for you?”
If your answer is “yes,” that’s amazing.
If your answer is “no,” this will be helpful for you.
We’re all in survival mode right now.
You likely are and so is your spouse.
The difference is that women have been socialized to put others’ needs before their own, where men have not been taught to do so. That doesn’t make men insensitive or selfish.
It’s the proverbial equivalent of putting your own air mask on first before helping others with theirs. In many ways, I’m envious of how men don’t subjugate their needs the way we often do as women.
Okay, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have or shouldn’t have any needs inside of our marriages. Obviously, we do. This is so important – especially right now – in order to understand one another better and give yourself the best opportunity for getting your needs met in your marriage. Here’s the three-step process I would follow:
- Have a conversation with your husband and ask him 2 important questions: “What is it that you feel like you need most right now? And when you have that, how will you feel?”
- It’s important to ask him first. All too often, we are so eager to get our own needs met that we just start demanding and expecting others to jump into action. The problem is that doesn’t often happen and if it does, they will often do so begrudgingly. Taking the time to ask him what he needs first opens the door for him to be more receptive to hearing what you need.
- Asking him how he will feel when his needs are met will help you to understand why he is asking. Oftentimes, when we understand the “why” behind the request, we are far more open to meeting our partner’s needs.
- Then, you can share with your partner what it is that you need and how it will make you feel when that need is met. My guess is that if your husband knew you would feel some version of loved, supported, cherished, etc…he would go out of his way meet that need for you.
- Be sure you know what it is you really need right now and how it is you want to feel. We’re often so busy taking care of everyone else that our needs don’t bubble to the surface as often as they should.
- Lastly, you ask the question that I consider the most important piece. I learned this from Alison Armstrong’s work and I love it. Ask your partner, “What do you need from me in order to provide what I need?” This is a powerful question, because it will help both of you feel heard and supported. Don’t be surprised when you hear a simple response, such as appreciation in return or a heartfelt thank you.
This doesn’t have to be complicated.
And it certainly doesn’t have to be the struggle that we seem to make it.
When we’re willing to meet our partner’s needs, they often become more willing to meeting our needs.