I Need More from This Marriage

I

We all get there. The marriage is not enough. An empty hole drains us. We are certain our spouses have the ability to fill it, but they don’t. We cannot get by on this much money, help, sex, support, appreciation, or recreation. One more day of this is just too much.
The answer? Expect Love. Everything else we expect from our mates causes us grief or anger. Sure, some husbands take care of the yard work. Yours loves you a different way. Some wives cook great dinners seven nights a week. Yours loves you a different way. Some are willing to dance, go skiing, or check out museums. Yours loves you a different way.
Recast the disappointment. What are you getting instead? And how much more will you get when you stop complaining about or begging for the rest?
Recast the expectation. What is it you need? How can your husband or wife help you get it, without being the one responsible for providing it? Where can you meet people who like to dance, ski, or tour museums? How else can you get great meals without cooking them? How else can you have the yard you desire?
If you resent not getting what you need, you suck the life out of your own enjoyment of the marriage. If you abandon the marriage, your list of unmet needs grows longer, not shorter. But if you take responsibility for getting what you need, you free yourself to love and to welcome all the other forms of love your spouse offers.
This is what I realized as I reviewed my list of unmet needs the day after my husband dropped dead. I have the needs whether or not I have the husband. I need to meet fewer of them for myself as long as someone loves me. But no matter who this is, he is unable to fill them all—and delighted to fill the ones he can when I am not whining about the others.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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