Does your spouse need you? Do you need your spouse? How much does your spouse’s attitudes and actions affect you? Are you so entwined with your spouse that it is unclear where you stop and they begin? Is this a good thing?
We’ve talked about this kind of stuff before. It’s the dance that we do with ourselves about being accepted and having the integrity of being who we are. It’s easier before marriage to justify making your significant other feel comfortable by giving them what they want, or at least what we believe they want, and in doing so we end up hiding part of who we are. After marriage the challenge of being one with our spouse and being our own individual makes it impossible to continue to hide who we are. Also, it becomes a matter of integrity. I mean, who wants to be accepted for pretending to be someone they aren’t?
So the dance begins almost as soon as the “I dos” are over. It’s amazing how expectations change in the short amount of time it takes to get married.
Before the marriage we’re concerned about being accepted by our significant other and bend over backwards to get that acceptance. The desire to please before marriage is evident in lower drive spouses doing things that they’re lower drive for, visiting the in-laws-to-be, acquiescing to their significant other’s desires, they’re working hard to be accepted.
After the “I dos” we’re suddenly more concerned about being accepted for who we really are. After the marriage things change because of the permanence of marriage and the acceptance commitment that marriage is we become less concerned about being accepted and become more concerned about getting what we want from our spouse.
We quickly learn that we have our ideas and expectations about marriage, and sometimes our ideas come into conflict with the ideas and expectations of our spouse. As Dr. Schnarch outlines in Sexual Relationships Always Consist of ‘Leftovers’ we compromise on what we want in our marriage bed because of our spouse’s comfort with somethings.
I know, you’re thinking, “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that the way it should be? Compromise.” Well as Dr. Corey Allan points out in Heads up, compromising in your marriage may ruin things,
I define compromise as each party goes away equally unhappy.
Doesn’t sound like a great way to solve disagreements when no one comes out happy. He goes on to say,
True compromise can only occur when two equally powerful people both clearly state their needs.
From this place, an elegant solution can arise that is satisfactory to both partners.
It seems to me that that’s what real intimacy is, “Two equally powerful people both clearly stating their needs” and real maturity is shown when they work together to find “an elegant solution can arise that is satisfactory to both partners.”
So, back to the original question, Do You Want to be Wanted or Need to be Needed? What do you think the mature, stand on your own two feet, choice is? Give me your comments.