What Are You Not Getting from Your Husband?
Do you have a list of things you are not getting from your husband? I did, right before my first marriage came to a crashing halt. I had a long list.
It was the list of a married woman. Single women have a different sort of list. They pay their bills, clean their bathrooms, shop for clothes, even raise children without a husband. What's on their list? Love. Someone to know them. Someone to accept them. Someone to care what becomes of them. Someone to touch them gently and lovingly. Someone to excite their passion.
It is only after they get these that they put the rest on the list. Someone to shovel snow. Someone to make more money when their own budget gets uncomfortably tight. Someone who does as much as they do to be sure the toilet bowl is clean and the seat is down and the paper rolls the classy way. Someone who cooks or cleans up after the cook. Someone with ambition or style or courage to enhance their own.
And now, the person who brought love into their life, the person who married them and promised for better or worse, feels perpetually not good enough. They know that unless they do all these things that feel unnatural or unimportant to them, all the things they want to do for the woman they love will never amount to good enough, either.
Now they feel unknown, unaccepted, uncared for, unable to reassure or fire up passion. Worse, they feel no respect from their list-maker, and they know respect is the very foundation of any relationship.
Even in my second marriage, I am sometimes secure enough in the things I sought when I married to start adding other things to the list. Now, though, I quickly notice what the new items on the list are doing to the love and respect in our marriage. I acknowledge what I need, but I remove it from what I expect my husband to provide. I might ask for them, once, maybe twice, but I accept the answer may well be no.
It's not no, I don't love you. It's no, I don't like doing this and I do not feel loving when I do it. Or it is no, I don't ever notice when this needs doing, and I do not enjoy being seen as not good enough when I fail to do what I don't even notice needs doing.
In my first marriage, I read each no as no, I don't love you enough to do this. This made everything on the list feel bigger, more urgent. It made me notice more things I needed. And then I woke up a widow, and I was stuck with my own list, and even I thought some of them really were not important enough to bother with during the first year or two as a single mom. Within a year, my biggest unmet need was again to be loved.
We all need a lot of people in our lives. We need friends who like to talk or listen if our mate does not. We need friends who help us screw up our courage to pursue our ambition or change our style. We need Dutch uncle friends who remind us how very little time it really takes to make the bathroom as we like it. We need friends who applaud us when we choose paper plates or a better dishwasher in place of replacing the worn sofa or even a second job to afford to eat out more, so after-cooking cleanup never drives a wedge between us and the man or woman who adores us.
If you find yourself expecting a lot more than love from your spouse, take some time to make new friends. It's a terrible thing to walk away from a happy marriage that became an unhappy one only because you drowned it in expectations. Expect Love and you just might enjoy being married.