Ask and Ye Shall Receive

As anyone who’s been happily married for a long time will tell you, communication is KEY to maintaining a happy relationship.  Craig and I haven’t been married a long time, but I can see how important it is already.

That’s not to say it’s always easy, because it’s not.  We’ve each got our own emotional baggage that can lead to fear of upsetting the other person.  Also, the fact that we’re still in the “newlywed” stage means we might not say that something is bothering us (or at least, not right away), because we might still be looking at each other with love-colored eyes.

But it’s essential to talk to your partner and ask for what you need, and what changes (if any) you’d like to see in your relationship.  As scary as it can be, these conversations are necessary, because it can clear up a lot of confusion.  Also, most of us aren’t mind readers, and we shouldn’t expect our partner to be one.  So, how can we expect our partner to give us what we want/need, unless we speak up about it?

While Craig and I have only been married two years now, we’ve been together for five.  And during our first few years together, we discussed this very concept.  I’d read enough books on healthy relationships to know that I needed to speak up for what I felt I needed from him, but Craig also gave me a bit of insight into the male psyche (or at least, Craig’s psyche) to let me know how helpful it is for me to tell him, specifically, what I need/want from him.  He said that 1) it helps him to know exactly what’s expected of him; and 2) he feels like a hero when he knows he’s done something that I wanted (especially when I thank him for doing it), which makes him more eager to say “yes” the next time I ask for something.

It was still hard for me to apply at first.  Maybe because women are geared to anticipate people’s needs and wonder why men don’t seem to be wired that way, or maybe because I’ve been so used to doing everything myself for so long.  But over time I’ve come to see it as a very helpful tool to keep our relationship strong, and also so I don’t get overwhelmed or feel that I’m doing more than my “fair share.”

What’s made it easier for me is that Craig’s so responsive to those requests.  Not only is he open to hearing what I need or want, but he actually DOES it, whatever chore it might be.  He’s REALLY good about doing what’s asked of him, which has helped me learn that I don’t have to do everything myself.

This is also true of things that I might need of him with regards to our relationship.  If I’ve noticed that I feel bad about some aspect of us–or that I’m worried I might feel bad in the near future–I’m able to sit down with Craig and tell him what I need to change in our dynamic.  He calmly listens and together we’re able to come up with a solution that can ensure that I’m getting my needs met, but where he’s not being too put out either.

It’s been such a wonderful relief, over the years, to know that Craig’s on my side and willing to step up if I need him in whatever capacity.  To know he’s there for me–TRULY there for me–has been one of the best things about our relationship.  That helps strengthen the trust, which just goes on to strengthen the relationship.  It’s one of those cycles that’s actually wonderful, rather than vicious.

So I encourage you all to ask for what you need; and not just in romantic relationships.  This sort of thing helps strengthen other relationships, too.  What they say is really true . . . the answer’s always gonna be “no” if you don’t ask.  But if you do ask, you just might get what you want.

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