In yesterday’s post, What do you mean by “need”? I said I felt sorry for anyone living with a spouse who only felt they had to meet needs, not wants. Of course, that is not how it plays out in real life.
We are happy to give what we like to give, and what is not too difficult for us to give, and we do not quibble over those things being wants or needs. We start to draw lines when our spouse expresses a desire for something we do not want to do, do not enjoy doing, find difficult, do not value, and so on. It is when we are unwilling that we start to argue about wants and needs, at least in our own minds. “I give her what she needs, and a lot of what she wants” we rationalise. Never mind that we do not give her four of the top ten things she desires, we give her a lot of things she desires less, and we think that somehow makes up for it. Of course if she fails to meet any of our most important desires, we get upset; but that’s different, right? What we want is reasonable, what she wants is not. What we want should be easy for her, while some of what she wants is very difficult for us. She has more free time, or less stress in her life, or … well there has to be some reason why it is so wrong for her to say no and so understandable that I have to sometimes say no!
Or, maybe we are just selfish? I know I certainly am!
Here’s a plan – spend a lot less time looking for reasons why it is okay to not meet her wants and needs, and more time meeting those wants and needs. Treat them all as valid needs, and focus on those that she says are the most important first. If she wants it, it is not wrong, and it will not cause problems (including but not limited to financial problems) then do everything in your power to give it to her.
Might this result in her starting to do the same for you? It almost certainly will – but don’t do it for that reason. Do it because it is the right thing to do. Do it because you love her. Do it because she deserves it. Become a radical husband!
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