Compare and Despair
I learned in my marriage prep class that it is never safe to just assume your partner can foresee your every need, desire, or wish. I barely know what I want sometimes, so why should my husband?
I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Don’t we all? What I see are the grand gestures of flowers, gifts, and romantic dates. It takes little to no time for the intrusive thoughts to come in.
“Why doesn’t my husband bring me flowers?”
“Why didn’t he remember that I specifically like chocolate ice cream and not peanut butter?”
“Why when I mentioned that I recorded a podcast did he not listen to it the minute that it came out without me asking him?”
Okay, maybe some of these are a little specific, but we all have our “dang” moments with our partners.
Ask. Don’t assume.
“How can I serve you today?”
It’s a question my husband and I ask one another. We do this for a number of reasons.
First, when we guess what the other needs, we are generally wrong. I know what I would want in a stressful time, so I tend to think everyone feels the same. But if my husband came home from a long day of work to an Epsom salt bath with a fragranced candle and the newest episode of The Bachelorette playing, it would be a catastrophe.
We are not mind readers, but we are learning beings. There is nothing wrong with asking for direction. There is good in the desire to bring joy to your spouse.
There is no fun in guessing what your spouse needs. There is no fun in putting a lot of thought and effort into a gift and it not being received well.
What is good and fulfilling is being open with your partner and communicating your needs.
*Don’t* Surprise Me
I am not a fan of surprises. I am, however, a fan of counting down to something that is exciting to think about.
I am glad I have a husband who knows to ask for my Amazon wishlist. I am glad to have a husband who knows to ask if he needs to just listen and nod or if he needs to provide some advice and guidance. Though it’s not perfect, getting on the same page beats guessing what’s on the page every. single. time.
Parents, make it easier on yourself
As parents, we are having to guess needs all day long.
Is my kid hungry? Is he tired? Is she going through a hard time? Did she decide just today that macaroni is no longer her favorite food?
We spend a lot of time and energy anticipating the needs of our kids. I am convinced I have lost years of my life guessing what will bring comfort to my kids.
Your spouse is not your child. They need love and care, and they need to communicate (to the best that they can) in what way they’d like it to be received. Communication is key, and spoken expectations can remove a lot of resentment down the road.
While I am a fan of “treat others as you want to be treated,” I am convinced that we are all individuals who have different needs, love languages, and personalities, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to caring.
Ask. Don’t assume. You and your partner will be both better for it.