His needs, her needs, our needs

There is a most annoying tendency to reduce relationships with generalizations about the people in those relationships. MarriageĀ is particularly vulnerable to this because it consists of one male and one female person. Oh, what fun we can have with our gender stereotypes! Thus come the His Need, Her Needs, Love and Respect, For Women Only, etc. etc. etc.

I suppose that these sorts of things may be fine for some things (like mocking?;-) but they are at least useless when it comes to actually living marriage. Honestly, if one needs broad generalizations in order to understand the man she lives with, it is a sad, sad day for marriage. Of course the generalizations will be correct in some instances, but even in those cases, why would one rely on “oh, men are motivated by x” rather than “from personal experience I know that my husband is motivated by x”?!

My great sin so far in marriage is that I tend to assume differences where none exist.

Me: Oh, husband, should I spend more time on appearance so that you can glory in my beauty?
Husband: ::thinking to self:: Dear Lord, what does she think I am? One of those mythical beasts who notices these things?

Recently I have really, really wanted more time alone. I am drained from all the constant interaction at work and then coming home to a small apartment with no me-space means that I am almost always around someone. For an uber-introvert this is no good!

But I didn’t realize how my husband felt until we were talking about our upcoming walk one morning. I asked when he would be ready and his face made his disappointment clear. The poor guy had been anticipating the upcoming 3 miles as a chance to be alone with his thoughts and suddenly felt as though he had to be with me. Ha! I was equally happy to have some time alone and after clarifying that immediately left so that we could walk separately.

As I alternated between walking and running (yes, I am still that out of shape) I contemplated how similar my husband and I are. Of course we have our differences in the ways that all humans do, but my struggles to understand him typically come from foolish assumptions that his needs are different from mine.

Who knew? It turns out that most of us need to eat and sleep and want to be loved and respected.


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7 thoughts on “His needs, her needs, our needs

  1. Kristy

    My almost-sister-in-law got Love & Respect for her brother and me to read. I read it (he hasn’t and probably never will) and hated most of it, if I’m completely honest. It had some valid points to it, but mostly it beat the same idea to death and then did it again for the “woman” half of the book.

    I think that, if you just talk about things, that tends to clear up 99% of issues. And chocolate and or wine (for me) clear up the other 1%. ;)

  2. Christine

    Agreed that communication beats any book advice. But I do admit that I sometimes like reading those kind of books just to see what they say – I rarely do any of the recommended follow up things.

  3. Christy

    Thanks for your sweet comments :) I am planning on including the URL for our website in our invitations – probably a cute little extra that we print and copy ourselves. I hope you were entertained by poking around – it is still such a work in progress!

    We contemplated going the not registering route, but know that with a large wedding and people who love to lavish gifts, we are better off making a list of things we will actually use.

    I read this post last week while I was on vacation, and I’ve been mulling it over since. I also tend to assume differences, and it is something that I keep working to overcome. Thanks for sharing your struggle with it!

  4. Taryn

    I actually kinda liked Love and Respect. Not the last section about God- but the first two. But talking is so much more important- you can’t just take what you read, do it and assume that life will be perfect!

    (I have started making chocolate chips . . . but I am not very good at it. It is hard!)

  5. Mindy

    I too am an introvert–totally charged when I spend time alone. :) And to think of it, my hubs is more that way too. I think respecting space is such an important part of marriage–you are still your own person even though you’re “one.” I feel healthy when I have time to unwind and just be, and that makes me a better wife too!

    I haven’t yet read Love and Respect, although I’ve heard a great deal about it… I read the 5 Love Languages, which I found interesting, and am also reading Sacred Marriage, which also has some interesting points. Have you read either of these? Thoughts? :) Read all we may, it doesn’t mean anything unless we enact it… How many of us are in study after study, or read book after book, but still aren’t a living example of love and respect? Sometimes we need to spend more time doing–I know I do!!

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