Sometimes we expect our partner to know what it is we need. We know what we need. It’s so obvious to us that we just can’t imagine how they don’t know. But the truth is we cannot be frustrated and carry around resentments about our needs not being met if we haven’t expressed to our partners what it is we actually need.
We know they can’t read our minds. So, if we do not tell them what we need, it is not likely to change.
Maybe you have expressed what you need and still nothing has changed.
Our immediate reaction is to assuming that she doesn’t care or we’re not important enough to her. That may be true in some rare, toxic relationships….but in my experience, not typical.
Most likely, there is probably something else at work and if you change the way you’re communicating, you just might get a different result and create the change you have been seeking in your marriage:
She wants to meet your needs, but really does not know how to do that. Let’s say you tell her you want to feel more appreciated, but she doesn’t know what specific actions she needs to take so that you feel more appreciated. Appreciation is subjective and what you think will create that feeling inside the relationship might be very different than what she’s thinking will help you feel more appreciated.
So here’s the thing… If she’s confused about what to do, she likely will not take any action until she knows what to do. Or, she may try to show you appreciation from her point of view. Tell her what appreciation looks like from your perspective. Then she has a much better chance of getting it right.
She isn’t going to change just because you want her to. Sure, she wants to give you what you want, but it’s typically not motivation enough to create real change. People change for one of two reasons: (1) They’re in a great deal of pain and want out of that pain, or (2) they have great desire. When we’re telling our partners what we want them to do, they probably care but they are not in pain, nor do they have great desire to want to make the changes themselves.
She has to want to make the changes. She has to see how her life will better too, if she changes.Rather than talking at her, arguing with her, or maybe even yelling back and forth- ask questions. Ask how her life would be different if she felt appreciated by you, felt valued and important. Would he feel more confident? Would she feel better physically? Would she be more patient? Begin asking questions so that you can identify what’s in it for her and then begin painting that picture.
Change is uncomfortable and frankly, it’s a lot of work. What’s efficient is just to do what we’ve always done. That takes virtually no effort. No one is going to change their habitual behaviors just so someone else can feel better – even when it’s your spouse. That’s just human nature.
Will it ever change? If you’ve been telling your wife what you would like her to change in the relationship and you haven’t seen any changes, maybe she’s needing further clarity about the details of what you’re asking or she can’t yet see how it will be better for her to make those changes.
Try a different approach than what you’ve been doing. Even if you try and it doesn’t create the massive change you’d like to see in your marriage, I promise you will learn something in the process.