Often, when people feel like their needs aren’t being met in the marriage, they stop focusing on meeting their spouse’s needs. This can lead to even bigger marital problems. Sometimes people begin to behave in ways that continue to damage the relationship, such as lying or nagging. It’s important to take notice of your own behaviors and how you treat your spouse when you feel like your needs are not being met.
Not Feeling Loved
When people don’t feel loved by their spouse it can cause them to change how they treat their spouse. Focusing on not feeling loved by your spouse isn’t likely to fix the situation. It’s quite likely that if you aren’t feeling loved, you aren’t treating your spouse in a loving way either. Focusing on ensuring your spouse feels loved may help initiate changes in the relationship.
Michael and Shelly had been married for 12 years. Although they got along well, Shelly felt like Michael didn’t do much anymore to make her feel attractive and loved. As a result, she started to withdraw from him. Unfortunately, this furthered the problem. The less time they spent together, the more she felt like Michael didn’t love her. If she focused on meeting his needs, he may be more willing to increase the amount of quality time they spend together, which may help Shelly feel more loved as well.
Not Getting Enough Attention
It’s common to feel like you aren’t getting enough attention from your spouse from time to time. How you respond to these feelings and to your spouse can have a big difference in whether the problem continues. Attempts to gain attention can often result in behaviors that exacerbate the problem.
For example, Ashley wanted her husband Ramon to come home right after work each day. Ramon enjoyed helping his brother work on a car they were fixing up. When Ramon would call to say he was on his way to his brother’s house, she would often yell at him and demand that he come home immediately. She sometimes made threats or told him he was a bad husband. This caused Ramon to want to stay away from home even longer!
If you feel like your spouse isn’t spending enough time with you, don’t waste the time you do have together nagging, complaining, or whining. Instead, focus on making the time as enjoyable as possible. Try to find out what you can do to meet your spouse’s needs. Spending quality time together may increase the amount of time and attention your spouse gives you.
Frustrated Your Partner Isn’t Pulling His Weight
Sharing household responsibilities, money, child-rearing, and other tasks means that things won’t always seem “fair.” There will likely be times that you feel like you are doing more and there may be times you let your spouse take the reigns. How do you respond when you feel like your partner isn’t pulling his weight?
Katie often felt like David acted irresponsible. She felt frustrated that he spent a lot of time watching television or spending time with friends. She often yelled at him and nagged him to do more cleaning around the house. However, her attempts to scold him actually caused her to act more like his mother rather than an equal partner. If your spouse behaves in a way you find to be irresponsible, don’t treat him like a child. This will only make the problem worse. Instead, treat him like a respectable adult if you want him to behave like one!
Annoyed by Your Partner’s Bad Habits
When you live with someone, it’s normal for some of their behaviors to annoy you. However, it’s important to monitor your response when you feel annoyed. Avoid the temptation to nag, whine, and complain. Focusing on how annoying your spouse’s behaviors are will likely only make you feel more annoyed. The more you think about it and the more attention you pay to it, the worse you might feel. Instead, it may be more productive to focus on some of your habits that likely annoy your spouse. Changing your behaviors may help improve your relationship.
Uncomfortable with Your Partner’s Reactions
Do you feel uncomfortable when your partner is hurt or upset with you? How do you respond? Sometimes people go to great lengths to avoid their own discomfort. Sometimes this isn’t healthy for the relationship when it leads for people not taking responsibility for their behaviors.
Shana and Roberto often argued about money. Roberto spent their cash more freely than Shana. Shana often yelled at him when she was upset with his spending habits. This led to Roberto lying to Shana about the money. He sometimes took his lunch to work but would secretly go out to lunch with co-workers. When Shana found this out, she became very hurt and reacted angrily at Roberto. If Roberto could have focused on working with Shana on their budget and trying to meet some of her needs, they could have addressed the issue together. Lying about his spending habits led to Shana feeling like she needed to monitor his spending habits even more.
Work Together to Meet Your Needs
If you feel like your needs aren’t being met in the marriage, it is important to talk openly with your spouse. It’s also important to continue working to try and meet your spouse’s needs. If you start only focusing on your needs not being met, you’ll likely neglect your partner’s needs and only damage the relationship further.