Now this “love cocktail” biologically circulated through your system for about two years. At this stage in the relationship you were most likely still operating out of the unconscious state, driven by hormonal and physiological needs for housekeeping and childbearing, or what we like to call in modern times “the commitment or wedding.” Your primal need for provision and protection kicked in, outweighing the contemporary desires, including communication and emotional connection.
This is where we get into trouble. The danger is that both parties have expectations that the other will behave like this indefinitely, however when we wean off the chemicals there’s huge disappointment. In today’s world most women can provide for themselves, however what is lacking is emotional security. The male’s basic need is to provide and protect physically.
Now we wake up from romance and see our partner for who he or she truly is, and the power struggle stage of the relationship begins whereby we want and expect more. This can go on for years if it’s not dealt with. We usually convince ourselves that our partner has changed, our frustration grows at his shortcomings, and although we tend to direct this at our mate we are actually upset with ourselves. Being the first chemical-free period in the relationship, year three is the most common year for divorce for obvious reasons.
Let me encourage you, whether you are in year one or year twenty of your relationship, to take responsibility by creating a written list of your nonnegotiable requirements, both functional and emotional needs. Be very specific and detailed. Remember, men need details and when you think you’re finished add more particulars, believe me, he’ll love you for it. Ask your guy to do the same. Make an appointment to sit down and present your lists to each other, and negotiate and compromise until both parties are in agreement. The list should include areas of domestic responsibilities, religion, romance, sex, trust, children, respect, lifestyle, in-laws, etc, each area outlined in precise detail. Give specific times, dates, examples and definitions. Which are deal breakers?
Be clear and concise. Align yourselves with common goals. Vow to meet monthly to co-create a written plan of action, to make sure each is getting their needs met sufficiently. Keep in mind men respond better if it’s in writing and will cooperate in the process much better if you establish his needs first. Then you will have his undivided attention.
Copyright © 2011 by Denise Wade, Ph.D. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Denise Wade, Ph.D. is devoted to helping committed couples reignite passion and intimacy through awareness of each other’s unique sexual and emotional needs. Denise provides gender education coaching, a comfortable alternative to marriage counseling. http://denisewade.relationshipcoach.org/ 1.610.639.6627.