Everyone has needs. When a couple comes together, each person’s needs is likely to conflict with the other person’s needs. Learning how to respond to this makes the difference between a highly conflicted relationship and a peaceful marriage.
Remember that you are the expert over what you need. Your partner is the expert over his/her needs. These needs are going to be different at times. There are lots of ways to handle these differences. Think creatively and you’ll find many ways to solve these problems.
For example, a wife may become angry that her husband doesn’t mow the grass often enough. Perhaps she tries nagging. Then she tries yelling. Neither seems to be effective. She becomes resentful about her husband’s lack of responsibility and is often angry with him. He, on the other hand, spends his Saturday afternoons helping his elderly mother around the house, which he thinks is far more important than mowing the lawn. He feels frustrated by his wife’s “rants and raves” about the grass.
The wife in this situation has lots of options. She could mow the grass herself. She could hire someone to mow the lawn. She could also practice learning to live with the lawn growing higher than she likes it to be and she could learn how to accept this. Continuing to behave in the way she currently has been behaving is not getting her needs met and is not meeting her husband’s needs.
Another example would be a husband who enjoys fishing. Perhaps in the past, his wife has gone fishing with him, despite not loving it. Eventually, she grows tired of fishing and starts declining his invitations to go more frequently. He becomes angry that she is “wasting the weekends” by watching television. She becomes frustrated with his reactions and declines more frequently. The husband could decide to get his needs met by finding someone else to go fishing with instead of reacting angrily toward her repeatedly.
Meeting our needs is our own responsibility. Learning how to effectively get your needs met can make a big difference to a relationship. Take notice of how you respond when you are not getting your needs met and determine what alternative steps you could take.