Regardless of how long you’ve been married to your spouse you don’t really know them as well as you probably thing you do. Regardless of what you think you cannot read your spouse’s mind. Despite your best efforts you will make incorrect assumptions about your spouse’s wants, needs, desires and particularly their motives. All of this is true about your spouse as well. They don’t know you as well as they think they do, they cannot read your mind, and they will make incorrect assumptions about your wants, needs, desires and particularly your motives. There is only one remedy to these issues: communication.
There are many, many marriages out there where each spouse has assigned incorrect motives to their spouse, they don’t really love me, they don’t care about my happiness, they’re a stubborn, immature, selfish jerk when none of that is the whole truth. The reality of the situation is that it is very likely that your spouse has assigned some of those same incorrect motives to you. Why? Because we don’t talk, we assume. Why do we assume? Because it is easier than having a discussion. Why is it easier to assume than have a discussion? Because discussions in these marriages are usually not discussions but arguments. Why do discussions turn into arguments in these marriages? Well, when you believe that your spouse doesn’t really love you, that they don’t care about your happiness, and that they’re a stubborn, immature, selfish jerk is it any wonder we get defensive when our spouse wants to “talk” and that discussion turns into an argument.
The other thing that happens is that we use these incorrect assumptions about our spouse’s motives to rationalize and justify our own selfish behavior. This goes usually goes both ways, each spouse assigns incorrect motives to their spouse and then creates rationalizations and justifications for their own selfish behavior based on these false assumptions. We’re caught in a cycle and we’re both acting like stubborn, immature, selfish jerks.
So, what is a real world example of this? Well, let’s take a look at the higher sex drive spouse and the lower sex drive spouse in a marriage. The higher drive spouse pesters the lower drive spouse for sex all week to get sex once a week. When the lower drive spouse finally gives in to get their higher drive spouse off their back for a few days it’s “get it over with” sex and not fulfilling at all. The lower drive spouse believes the higher drive spouse wants hanging from the chandelier sex twice a day because they’re pestered for sex all week long. The higher sex drive spouse is so sexually frustrated that they assign all kinds of evil motives to their spouse. The dynamic that they’re living reinforces each spouse’s assumption about the other, the higher drive spouse wants sex ALL THE TIME, the lower drive spouse is a acting like a selfish jerk. The reality is probably quite different. The higher drive spouse would actually like sex two or three times a week with some variety and it’d be nice if the lower drive spouse would initiate occasionally. The lower drive spouse would like to feel valued beyond sex and would like the chance for sex to be their idea once in awhile. They’re creating the dynamic based on incorrect assumptions while the reality is likely quite different.
So, how do you get out of this? Well the first step is to recognize that it is happening in your marriage. If you are married to a good-willed spouse and not a real Stubborn, Immature, Selfish Jerk then you can try to have a “talk” with them about this dynamic in your marriage and ask them if perhaps they see it as well. Realizing that your spouse is not your enemy but your ally can be a relieving and empowering idea. Working together to make the marriage better will yield more results than working individually to get your own wants, needs and desires met. In the dynamic the couple was creating in our higher/lower sex drive example neither is likely getting their wants, needs or desires met, by discussing their needs wants and desires with one another they’re more likely to have them met. Remember, we are unlikely to get what we want, need or desire from our spouse by denying them what they want, need or desire.
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