4. Listen to your partner’s goals for the marriage. Be as interested and responsive as you can. You might not be able to give your partner exactly what he or she wants, but offer empathy and avoid getting defensive. When the listening gets tough, remind yourself how much this soulmate relationship means to you.
5. Work as a team to meet both partners’ individual needs. Forget the exhausting tug-of-war and pull together. In my Manhattan marriage counseling practice I use the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle. Each partner’s needs and wants are puzzle pieces. You both put your pieces on the table and then together you figure out how to assemble the puzzle.
Couples who move into this new, more autonomous stage of marriage discover that they are creating a deeper bond, one that includes a real appreciation of each partner’s uniqueness. Why not try it? You’re likely to feel more like soulmates than ever.