How Much Should You Ask of Your Marriage?

Last Sunday in What Marriage Is Becoming I introduced you to Eli Finkel and the idea of “all or nothing marriages.” I want to expand on that, starting with another Finkel quote:

“The question isn’t, ‘Are you asking too much?’ The question is, ‘Are you asking the appropriate amount, in light of the nature of the relationship right now?’ — There’s no shame at all in thinking of ways that you can ask less”. ~ Eli J. Finkel

If you ask more from your marriage than your wife is willing (or able) to provide, that could hurt or even end a marriage that could be good.

How Much Should You Ask of Your Marriage?

It’s not wrong to want your wife to help you achieve maturity and personal fulfilment. Personally, I think that’s a good thing, and a powerful way to accomplish those goals. However, if your wife wants a more traditional marriage in which each person seeks those things beyond the marriage, you’re going to have problems. You will be frustrated with her and she will be frustrated with you. You will feel neglected while she feels overwhelmed.

Perhaps she has figured out what you want and is half-heartedly trying to provide it. She may try to meet some of those needs by diverting energy from other things you want. Or she might try to meet those needs by cheating herself. Neither of these is healthy or sustainable.

If you suspect you’re expecting things beyond what she thought would be her responsibility in your marriage, you need to have a serious talk about it. Actually, I’d say it’s a good conversation for every couple to have, even if there’s no apparent problem. If you realise you want things she didn’t think she would be providing, you need to pull back. She might be willing and able to do part. If she says she is, make sure she feels able, and check back with her every so often. Whatever she’s not willing to do you will have to get in some other way. If she’s willing, make her a part of that discussion.

Of course, there are things you should only get from her. Sex is an obvious one. Certain other types of intimacy also need to be limited to our spouses. This is another area to discuss. These things need to be cared for before you ask her to do something that you could get from outside the marriage.

There are also things that you clearly can’t get from your wife. Male bonding for example. Even if your wife is down with helping you with personal growth and fulfilment there are places you will need other people. Trying to get her to do those things is asking for problems for both of you.

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Great tweet of the week:

True love is humble. @FierceMarriage:

The Generous Wife

As You Wish ◄ Make a list of wishes, then make them come true.
THe Matters ◄ She matters too. Make sure she knows she does!

Hot, Holy and Humorous

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Intimacy in Marriage

What If We Physically Can’t Have Sex? ◄ Great advice.

Kevin A Thompson

Is Envy Hindering Your Marriage? ◄ You can’t love the one you envy.

3 Comments on “How Much Should You Ask of Your Marriage?

  1. So, if your spouse (male) has a “low sex drive” and you may, if your lucky, have sex every 6 months, but then you find out they materbate and hire a prostitute, would I be asking for too much?!?!

  2. Excellent points, Paul.

    There is another danger, and that is asking too little. As my days turn from painful but meaningful into a surreal beasting-without-end, the don’t-mean-nuthin’ attitude that’s so deeply ingrained is a barrier to any kind of intimacy. Making jokes about one’s impending death is funny in cinema, but hardly endearing to one’s spouse.

    And yet, it’s what’s kept me alive. The less you care, the less you need, the stronger you become.

    But it takes something away. Randy Pausch, in “The Last Lecture”, wrote of he and his wife holding each other in tears, in moments when reality hit home. I could never do that; it’s a bit embarrassing to even write it.

    But it’s something my wife needs; the catharsis that can be found in no other earthly place, in this situation.

    And thus, facing the Last Enemy, the Last Transition: from hardass to dumbass.

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