What Do You Want from Your Husband or Wife?
I write a lot about expectations, not so much about wants. But it can be so important to make a distinction.
If you expect to go out with your spouse and tango, watch a play, bowl, or listen to a soulful saxophone, you feel hurt when it doesn't happen. This is what couples do, you might believe, and not doing it brings into question how permanent or how deep your connection really is. When you ask, you ask with contempt or pleading. Often you don't even ask, you just accuse.
If, instead, you want to go do one of these with your spouse, you ask differently. You understand that we all have many competing interests, many prior experiences that affect our current expectations, and different tastes. You know that you can go do this together if it appeals to and works for both of you. You ask with anticipation, generosity, and enthusiasm.
What you want may not be what your spouse wants, and you may get turned down. But because you have allowed a no answer and respected the differences between you, you may discover how much you are truly loved. Your spouse may help you find someone else who would go with you. Your spouse may offer to do what you want on a different date. Your spouse may use the information about what you want to plan a gift or a celebration for you or even just to brag about you to friends.
The thing we can't see when we grasp at love, when we fear it is not there if it is not as we expected, is how very much a spouse wants to show us love.