20 YEARS OF LEARNING SERIES
We live in a media-driven world. The media works hard to convince us that if we are with the right person, our significant other should be able to finish our sentences, (including reading our minds), anticipate our needs and intuit our desires without ever openly talking about any of it. I can think of very little that could be more damaging to a marriage than this popular belief. You might think this is a trivial topic to write about. However, I frequently sit with couples who feel unfulfilled in their relationships. These couples point to all the ways their spouse is not what they had anticipated and it shapes the contribution that each partner brings to the relationship.
Before you know it, you begin to wonder if you married the “right person.” After all, your spouse is supposed to complete you, right? What can you do when your expectations have eroded your desire to be with your spouse?
First, acknowledge that you have expectations that you have not shared but that are important to you. This opens the door for a meaningful conversation as your desire is to be in a more intimate relationship with your spouse.
Second, avoid using the word “you.” Instead, share your experience. Use “I heard”, “I thought” and “I felt.” Using “I” statements helps you to pursue intimacy with your spouse and seek growth in the relationship. Instead of the pointing finger approach that can quickly trigger a hurricane.
Resist the urge to just vent. Give your spouse room to reply without interruption, especially if you disagree. When sincere, this sends a clear message that they are more important than your ego or position on a topic. Occasionally your spouse may have an insight to share that you have not considered, so listen graciously.
We often must remove the log in our own eye before we can address the splinter in our spouse’s eye.