When marriage issues occur we have a habit of framing discussions around perceived “needs” when what these “needs” really are are “wants” or “desires”. The issue here is that you aren’t going to die if all of your “wants” and/or “desires” aren’t met so the discussion of what you “need” from the relationship is derailed from the beginning because you are setup defending your “wants” and/or “desires” against your spouse’s “wants” and “desires” that they also feel are “needs”.
Instead of discussing our personal wants/needs/desires I think it is better to frame the discussion in what you each feel is required for a healthy and satisfying marriage. At some point an issue will arise where you both cannot have something you feel is required for a healthy and satisfying marriage. As usual I’ll use sex as an example. If the wife would like to be having sex three times per week and the husband only wants to have sex once per month then who should get their way? Would your answer change if the roles were reversed and it was the husband who wanted more sex? Is your answer, compromise?
What usually happens it the person with the lower sex drive controls the sexual behavior of the relationship just like the person with the lower desire to socialize will control the social behavior of the relationship. This usually leaves the lower drive spouse frustrated and unsatisfied.
What each spouse is faced with in a situation like this is a two-choice dilemma, they want a happy spouse but they also want the amount of sex, or social activity, that they want, but they cannot have both. In a compromise, neither spouse receives what they feel is required for a healthy and satisfying relationship. So what is one to do? Well I think the answer is in the goal, a healthy and satisfying relationship. We each have the choice in some area of our marriage to do something to make our marriage healthier and happier for them. Each couple needs to work out between them what makes for the healthiest and most satisfying marriage. It will be different for different marriages and it will definitely change as we learn and grow.
This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.