Like everyone else in relationships, I found myself pondering the same question. Why is it so hard to get my needs met in this marriage or relationship?
We all have an innate desire to give love and be loved. God created us with this desire. It’s hard when you feel like you’re the only one showing appreciation, attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness but you’re not receiving the same thing.
You don’t ask for much? You just want to feel SEEN, HEARD, VALUED, and APPRECIATED.
I completely understand how you feel. If this is you, keep reading!
In marriage, we have to understand a process called collaborative negotiation that begins when both husband and wife can identify what their wants truly are and be able to work together to achieve a win-win solution.
Notice I didn’t say “needs met.” For several years I thought that we should be fulfilling each other’s needs. In the book, A Marriage of Equals by Catherine E. Aponte, Psy.D, this confusion for most couples is cleared up. When you say “need” it becomes a demand because we feel entitled to be fulfilled.
Needs are exchanged in a tit for tat arrangement. For example, if you do this for me then I’ll do that for you.
When you use the word “want” instead you are expressing a preference of what you believe is important to you in order to live a good and happy life. Wants aren’t demands, however, they express you’re willing to negotiate with your spouse.
Do you see the difference there?
Before we get into the 8 questions let’s take a little more about this process of collaborative negotiation. The term collaboration means we are equal and working together. It does not mean we are competing or avoiding each other. When you collaborate you both contribute to the commitment you made in your marriage.
Negotiation for your wants takes place when you both seek to find the win-win approach instead of the tit-for-tat approach.
Here are the 8 questions you must ask yourself in order to get your wants fulfilled:
1. Do I understand my partner’s worth and that he/she is valuable?
Although this may be obvious and you may immediately say yes. Do your actions prove the same? Actions such as giving them your attention and listening when they talk show you value them. Scheduling date nights also show that you value your time together. If you need date night ideas, we got you!
2. Have I clearly communicated my wants and desires?
Your spouse is NOT a mind reader!! Don’t expect your partner to know what you want if you don’t clearly express what it is. Because you’ve been together for a long time doesn’t mean they know what you want.
3. Am I willing to be vulnerable to let my spouse know what I want?
Being vulnerable is definitely not easy. However, it is a MUST when expressing what you want. When you are expressing your wants you’re opening up and exposing yourself which isn’t easy. If you need help with conquering vulnerability, check out this article.
4. Do I understand why this want or desire is important to me?
If you don’t understand why it’s important to you then how will your spouse understand. This is why it’s important to have self-awareness and understand who you are as a person and what you really want in your relationship.
5. Am I making sure I don’t express my want out of privilege? (i.e. I make more money)
Make sure your want isn’t being expressed as a privilege. A common want expressed out of privilege is I make more money so I have more leverage in the relationship or I have more say-so aka power. I can tell you what to do. I can promise you this won’t go over well. Remember you’re a team we work together. If I lose you lose, when I win you win!
6. When my spouse express their wants to me, am I willing to take action?
You have to be willing to meet your spouse’s wants and wishes also. It’s not always about you, you have to understand how to fulfill their wishes and wants not only to receive but because you value and appreciate them.
7. Am I willing to accept the outcome of the actions I take?
The choice is yours to make. You can either step us to fulfill the wish and want of your spouse or you can continue to ignore their desires. Ignoring their want or wish will only hurt your relationship long-term. Be willing to grant their want or wish for a win-win in your relationship! The real question comes next….
8. Am I willing to learn and change once I’m aware of their wants and wishes?
In order to meet your spouse’s wants and wishes you may have to learn something new or change the way you’ve been doing things. YIKES!! Change is hard but it’s inevitable the growth part is optional but necessary. How do you grow through change? View it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle or inconvenience. Figure out what’s making it difficult for you to change. Once you identify what it is begin doing the work on yourself to remove the barrier to meet your spouse’s desire.
The goal is to honor, remember, and act on your commitment you made to your spouse!
Marriage is about working together to fulfill each others wishes and wants. You MUST be on the same page headed in the same direction. It takes having those tough heart to heart conversations that aren’t always comfortable! It sometimes takes you realizing that some things you have to let go in order to grow and move on!
How good are you with self-awareness? Do you struggle with getting in touch with your feeling and emotions? If so I would love to help you explore ways to become more self-aware. Book a 1:1 Clarity Call to gain the tools and skills necessary to become better with self-awareness.