(Trying to start the year off on a positive note… so here is a posting that should have made the book. Small victories should be celebrated, right?)
We watch stories all the time about the absurdity of assuming. The idiocy of some sad person wondering why their significant other can’t read their mind and just know or just do what they want them to. We laugh at the high-jinks, think about the silliness, and then carry right along expecting our partner to know how we want to be loved.
It happens in all our relationships, and I have heard it several times before. The number one killer of relationships is Unmet Expectations. You expect for life to go one way, it goes the other. You expect your partner to want this forever, and then they want something else. You will act on the antiquated routine that no longer meets your partners needs. It’s no one’s fault when goals no longer align, but it is our fault that it go to this point without noticing.
Recently my husband and I have resurfaced an old phrase that has been bringing us closer to the same page. It’s not magic, and it can sound trite, but we’ve begun asking “How can I help you?” I know, stupid and all in that “communicate communicate communicate” advice, but it has been working.
In our last two to three years of growth we have become different people with different goals. (There will be more on this, but workaholic would be putting it lightly) I was trying to love and care for the old him (as the new unimproved me) by assuming and leaving him disappointed with what he got. He said that I never even think to ask him what he needs or how he feels… and he was right. I had been assuming I KNEW what he wanted and how he felt, doing things I thought were great… and they meant nothing. So here I am thinking I’m doing all these wonderful things, and really all I’m doing the opposite.
So I started asking him. What did he want? What did he need? How did he feel? How could I help him? He thought it was insincere at first, but I didn’t stop, I just kept doing it. I meant it when I said I thought I was doing good, and now I needed to know HOW to do good. Only he could tell me, so… I asked.
And you know what? I learned about this new man in front of me. I saw just how misaligned my perception of his needs and wants were with the reality of his needs and wants. It was incredible just how big of an ass I was being ASSUMING all this time. Learning about this new man wasn’t the only side effect, we also became closer and more communicative. People who thought they had little to nothing in common were laughing and joking again.
At the end of the day, it’s silly to expect our spouse to just know everything we want. However, it’s just as silly to assume you know what they want. Just ask… and then deliver. But that’s a story for another time.