In the strongest and healthiest relationships, there is conflict. Couples learn about each other, and about themselves, through altercations and arguments. Sometimes, it’s hard to articulate what we actually want and issues that seem topical might have already dug their roots deeper into the relational level. While communication is important, and it can be easy to blame the other person for not telling you exactly what they want, it’s arguably more important to not be too quick to judge. To consider where their needs might be coming from. Here are some common concerns of couples that may help you better understand your partner’s needs, even if they don’t exactly know how to put them into words themselves.
“You hang out with your friends too much.”
I miss you and want more time with you. I know you value your time with your buddies, but I really value my time with you. I’m not asking you to give up any one of them. I just want to be feel included and wanted.
“You never help me with the chores.”
OK, not never...but not enough to keep me from feeling like I’m taken for granted. I want to feel appreciated, not expected to be the maid, and have a partner that picks up some of the slack.
“You’re always working overtime.”
I feel that our time together suffers in your pursuit for money. I’m constantly waiting, passing the time with my own responsibilities, but wishing you were around. I appreciate your hard work, but our relationship ultimately needs more attention than your job.
“I don’t know where I want to go to eat.”
I know that you value my input, but sometimes I don’t mind stepping back and letting you take the reigns. I want you to take charge. Take the pressure off of me by making the decision this time. As long as I’m enjoying my time with you, I probably won’t care what we’re eating.
“We don’t have enough sex.”
You are the person I come to for affection and I want more of you. This is what sets our relationship apart from other friendships and I want to embrace that exclusivity.
“I wish you would spend more time with me and my family.”
I want you to appreciate where I come from. Every part of who they are has made me who I am, and since you love me, I hope you can come to love them for raising me into the person you choose to spend your days with.
“Pick up your smelly socks. I just cleaned this room.”
I hold the tidiness of our home to a high standard, but I feel like where one mess ends, another begins. I want to be in a mature relationship where we can live like stable, organized adults. Your lack of effort makes me feel disrespected, and it wouldn’t take much more effort to convince me that we’re in this together.
“Will you please just stop talking and listen for once?”
I just want to be heard. You’re letting your mind form assumptions about me that are just digging us into a deeper hole. I will not let myself be misrepresented, so I need you to hear me out.
If your current relationship is one that you truly value and hope will last a lifetime, then these issues will need to be talked about and worked out. People are deeper than they seem from the outside, with many layers and complicated emotions affecting their actions and their words. This is frustrating, this is complicated. But this is special, beautiful and something to be embraced as you grow with your partner throughout your intertwining lives.