“I don’t know if I can stay in this relationship unless James gets better at paying attention to my needs,” Erica states.
“What do you need from James?” I ask.
“I need him to be more supportive.” She replies
“Are you talking about that big dinner?” James asks, holding up his quote fingers.
James is referring to an incident several weeks back, when Erica, had a big dinner with her boss at the house and he totally forgot. James came home the night of the dinner way after it was over, knowing full well that Erica needed help with the kids…ESPECIALLY for that night!
“Well, if we’re talking about needs,” says James, “I don’t think you’re meeting my needs too well, either. I didn’t sign up or stand in the line for kissing up to your damn boss week and what about me? I need a wife who cooks and rushes around the house for me…not some boss that is too narrow minded to see or acknowledge your talent.”
“What would support need to look like from James?” I ask, Erica.
James jumps in. “I’ll tell you what support would look like to her…it looks like a man juggling and tap dancing at the same time!”
Erica rolls her eyes and says, “I’m your wife, James! You’re supposed to support me unconditionally.”
“Practice what you preach, lady and then maybe I’ll listen” replies James.
In my work as a relationship coach, I see this sort of thing happen all the time: Both people in the relationship thinks they are right and believes that it is the other persons job to meet their need needs.
But is this the way relationships work best?
“What’s the point of being in a couple if your partner’s not going to meet your needs?” Erica states.
“What if your partner can’t do what you want him to do? Or simply doesn’t want to?” I jump in to reply to the already hostile couple.
Erica thinks for a long minute, and her anger comes up. “What am I supposed to do—just accept his non-support?” Erica asked a great question.
James’s question made me really think about how I could get them communicating of the same page. The way this couple behaves I can already tell that I will need to start at the basics for them to understand things they will need to come to terms with in a relationship.
When we’re children, and we can’t take care of ourselves, it is someone else’s job to meet our needs. Ideally, our parents should take that role. But when we grow up, meeting our needs becomes our own job, as difficult as that sometimes is. When we are in a relationship, our partners may help us, sometimes. But there will also be times when they don’t.
You can struggle to get him, or her, to meet your needs. Or you can struggle to meet your own needs, and struggle to accept a partner who isn’t always going to behave as you want.
If you and your partner are driving each other crazy, trying to control each other’s behavior or attacking each other, feel free to give me a call. I can help you get clear how to behave in ways that you actually respect and feel good about; ways that will help you have a better relationship.
Start by picking up my book on Amazon. Kit Kat’s Coaching Guide – Learning to Protect Your Marriage.
Learn how Erica and James work out their drama right here on PAWII Blogs