“Do these jeans make my butt look big?”
“What do you think I should do?”
“He shouldn’t need me to tell him that I want to go on a surprise date!”
Do these questions sound familiar? Do they often start a heated discussion? How about, “Where do you want to eat?”
I remember early in our marriage how I angry I would get with Scott when he didn’t answer questions the way I thought he should. When I asked about how my postpartum body looked in a certain pre-baby outfit, knowing that he didn’t know the ‘right’ way to answer to my question, I walked away without the validation I needed. I wish that I had known that it was okay to just tell him, “The answer is beautiful. Here is my question…”
In our marriage we have found that there are certain questions we ask, or expectations we have, that we have preset responses we hope to receive. We call these ‘scripts’. These scripts are light-hearted, and relax the mood of many could be hot button matters. They are by no means our attempts at telling each other how to think, talk, or feel. These little scripts give direct access to the expectations we have inside.
I hate pop-quizzes over content I have never seen, or presented in a way that is skewed to the advantage of the test maker. If a test is an evaluation of whether or not material has been learned, and often a reflection of the teacher, then applying this scenario at home may point back to the one asking the question, more than the one who fails to respond appropriately.
If you are asking a question of your spouse and you already know what you want them to say, tell them the answer. This doesn’t invalidate your need or their response. Set your marriage up for success. It’s not rocket science. If you want to be taken out more often, pursued outside of the bedroom, it is unfair to your mate to assume they “just know.” Contrary to current beliefs, it isn’t an insult to the state of your marriage when you need to communicate your needs. Last time I checked, my husband, nor I, are mind readers.
The point of all of this can be netted out in one word: TALK.
Open your mouths and communicate ALL of your thoughts, dreams, needs, desires, expectations, etc. with your spouse. They don’t know until they know! In the same measure you would like grace shown to you, be willing to give it out to your significant other. Your mate needs grace. If they need to be told more than once, be willing. It isn’t a sign of disrespect or lack of caring and concern. Some people need more than one exposure to new information. Did you memorize all states and capitols the first time someone rattled them off to you? I didn’t either. You have many important matters on your heart, give the gift of time and grace for your loved one to internalize these needs.
Now, when I ask if my jeans make my body look a certain way, I quickly smile and tell him the answer, and sweetly he smiles back saying his line right back to me, usually with his personalized spin on it. I feel validated and he feels successful and what could have been a hot topic, became cool and comfortable for both of us!