I am planning my first relationship workshop. It is called "The Relationship Essentials". As I am working on the exercises for the workshop so many different principles come to mind. One thing that is really jumping out today is the fact that a lot of times we want people, especially men, to acknowledge something we are not honoring ourselves.
As a newly married widow this trap is very easy for me to fall into. Because of the loss in my past I am very tempted, a times, to think The Hubby should understand the all the challenges that have come along with my loss. In the past, if he were running late and I couldn't get him on his cell phone I would begin to panic. I'd often work myself into a frenzy, imagining all of the terrible things that could have gone wrong. Then the second I new he was okay I would say to myself, "How could he do that? Doesn't he know what I've gone through! The least he could do is call. He's not even thinking about me!"
The truth is, as unromantic as it sounds, it isn't his job to figure out what I need. It is my job to figure out what I need and then tell him. These are my needs and if I am not going to acknowledge them why should he? How could he if he doesn't even know there's an issue? If what I need is not important enough to me for me on the table, is it realistic for me to expect him to do it? So I had to get real clear and ask for what I wanted. So when things calmed down I went to him and said something like this:
Me: "Is it okay if I tell you want I need so I can have fewer mental meltdowns on ya?"
The Hubby: "Sure" he chuckles.
Me: "Well, you know about my past and sometimes when I can't reach you it sends me into a tail spin. I am terrified that something horrible has happened to you. So by the time I do talk to you I'm scared, angry and spazing out."
The Hubby: "Tell me about it!"
Me: "Very funny. But seriously, not knowing if you're okay makes me feel scared and insecure and I want to feel safe and secure. So can we agree that when you are running late you will call me to let me know that you are okay? I'll agree to try to not spaz out when I can't reach and to work on staying calm unil you call me back"
The Hubby: "I had no idea that that is what was going through your mind! Yes, from now on,I will call if I'm running late."
Now it was a little more to it than that but that is the gist of it. I had to get clear on what I needed from him (the security of knowing he's okay) and then ask for it. Once I acknowledged my need so did he. And sure he's slips up occasionally but instead of working myself up I've learned to just call him to set my mind at ease. And if I can't reach him I have to work at staying calm and not allowing myself to get my britches in a bunch. I have learned that acknowledging and taking care of my needs is primarily my job, coming along side me and supporting me in what I need is his job.
Are you constantly expecting others to figure out what you want without you first asking for it? What do you need to acknowledge and then ask for in your own life? How could it help your relationship?