I remember when I used to think that my husband should “just know” what I need without ever saying anything. Then when he did nothing, I would get so hurt and upset. And before I knew it, we were in a full-blown argument. If you can relate to the frustration, I want to spare you some of the pain and share with you 3 tips on communicating your needs with your husband without fighting.
1) Decide What You Want
“The way to get what you want out of life is to decide what you want.”– Ben Stein
“We all want things. We have hopes, dreams, and fantasies that we envision, but many of us have had the “I want” trained out of us,” says Coach Laura Doyle.
I was taught not to be selfish, think of others first, and not think more highly of myself than I ought. That did not make me stop wanting things, especially the comfort and affection of my husband. Somehow by osmosis, I was taught how not to express my needs, wants, and desires.
I went through life without acknowledging what I wanted, I was going through life without the things I needed the most, or I had to use manipulation to get them. Instead of being direct,
I learned an indirect way of communication. I “beat around the bush, again, and again,” never asking for what I truly wanted. Most of the time, I didn’t even know what I wanted! I was extremely unhappy, dissatisfied, bitter, and full of resentment.
I was living my life in total defeat, not understanding why I was so miserable.
It’s essential to acknowledge the things you want, need, and desire and begin to recognize them, write it down and say them out loud.
2) Ask For What You Want
It’s your job to not only decide what you want but to ask for it.
“Jesus said, “Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”– John 16:24
But this is not a blanket prayer that we pray and expect God to jump at every request. No, within the context of scripture, Jesus says that whoever asks, receives, whoever seeks, finds, and whoever knocks will find an open door. (See Matthew 7:7-8.) Jesus says that God will not fail to give his children good things (vs. 11.)
One condition to the promise of “ask and receive, what you ask for must be good in God’s eyes. He will not give you what He knows will harm you. Your prayers are not unlike your request to our husband. Your husband can provide guidance and encouragement, funds, and fulfillment of your needs when you ask and allow him time to process the request.
Sometimes, however, your husband will not fulfill your wishes because of timing, finances, or contradictory desires. And this is something you have to be okay. But if you don’t acknowledge your desires, you give yourself no chance at ever getting them.
How to Express Your Needs and Desires
I had not learned the secret to expressing pure desires. I had somehow slipped into the exhausting cycle of nagging, manipulation, and trying everything to persuade my husband to give me what I wanted.
I didn’t know that manipulation and coercion (unhappiness, bitterness, and resentment) was punishment toward my husband for not meeting my desires. What started as a desire ended up as a demand or expectation. I have now realized that I can express my desire and allow my husband the freedom to fulfill what “I would love” if it were within his power.
- Express your desires purely without any attachment to a particular outcome is a vital part of being yourself. Expressing your pure desires is a way of taking responsibility for your happiness. And it’s also essential information for your husband.
“When does a pure desire become “impure” and controlling? When it becomes an expectation or demand.” –Coach Laura Doyle.
So the way to express your needs is by saying, “I would love…” And share whatever is on your mind at the moment.
When the punishment and complaining start, desires become ultimatums. And this brings me to my next point.
- You don’t have to persuade, manipulate, argue, nag, or coerce him into doing something to make you happy. After all, your husband wants to be your provider and protector, your knight in shining armor.
- Share only the end result of what you desire. Ask yourself, what do I want?
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do the Lord.”Ephesians 5:22
Sometimes I overcomplicate the message by saying too much instead of asking for what I would love. As I learned more communication skills, it became easier to trust myself, and my husband could trust me.
“You might be tempted to tell him how to meet those desires, but then you’ve just left the realm of pure desire and entered the realm of control. All you have to worry about is the end result. Not the how!”-Coach Laura Doyle
I simply say what I want, allowing him to please me, the woman he loves most in the world. And saying, “what I would love” is the best way I have found to express my desires.
I have discovered that communicating what I want lets my husband know what I desire by sharing information about myself without controlling him. It’s about honoring the desires that are in your heart.
3) Avoid These Common Mistakes to Communicating Your Needs with Your Husband
- Giving a view-point or opinion instead of stating a need, want, or desire. Instead of saying, “I want to go dancing”, you say, “I enjoy dancing”. There is nothing wrong with that, but you didn’t express a need, want, or desire.
- Complaining, nagging, or manipulating something instead of telling your husband what you need, want, or desire. As in, “You never take me dancing!” That is not the same at all. A complaint is an un-expressed desire, whereas a desire shares your innermost feelings, and it’s exciting to think about everything you want.
- Another exception when sharing your desires; I have found you don’t want to use it for attention or affection, including lovemaking. Once I started communicating effectively, I didn’t need to ask for those things because I naturally attracted my husband to me.
It’s Okay to Have and Share Contradictory Desires Simultaneously
I remember one Christmas I got a call from a friend, and as we reminisced about the days we spent in the sun and the fun we had at the beach, she extended an invitation for us to spend time with them over the holidays. It sounded great! But not too long after, I got a little weepy and said, “Honey, I don’t want to miss the holidays this year at home with the kids.”
So Randy said, “Well, we could always go a different time to Hawaii and spend this Christmas with the kids.” He made sense. Still, I was upset that I would miss the opportunity to enjoy time on the island at Christmas. There wasn’t much he could do or say at that point because I had two contradictory desires.
I got to say what I wanted, and I got to express my sadness, and he held a space for me. So we connected, even if there was a complete lapse of reason on my part.
“When a man feels like he has your full faith and trust, he will not want to let you down. And he will feel a fierce responsibility to meet your needs and desires. ” Coach Laura Doyle
“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman, and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”-1Peter 3:7 (ESV)–1Peter 3:7 (ESV)
When I began respecting my husband and following his lead, he felt an innate responsibility to meet my needs and desires. My dedication gave him an added strength and reminded him of who he is as our family leader, and he wants to take care of me and make sure I am well pleased.
I can assure you when my husband met my wants, needs, and desires; he felt more confident in himself and more grateful towards the love and respect I was showing him, which naturally leads to increased peace and joy in our marriage.
When I began communicating my wants and desires without any strings attached and letting go of demands and expectations, our relationship has flourished and grown in just a short while. As I consistently value myself enough to decide what I want, ask for what I need, share my desires with my husband, and now I anticipate him to meet my desires when he can do so.
If effectively communicating your needs with your husband is something you find challenging, I would love to offer you a personalized master plan to discover the best way to communicate with the man you married. Simply schedule an appointment below.
Gaining a Heart of Wisdom,