“Why is marriage so difficult for me? It seems when I look around at other people’s marriages they seem happy and at ease. It feels like a losing battle when I ask for the things that I need and my husband just doesn’t seem to hear me or even try to understand. Sometimes I think it would be easier to simply give up asking for my needs to be met and turn my back on my relationship, although I know this isn’t what I really want, especially for my children. How is it that the person I want something the most from is the most resistant to responding to me?”
Dr. Howard replies:
Intimate relationships bring out our deepest childhood woundings and life agendas that need to be healed. Many people settle for less than they have to in their lives, including their marriages. So although a marriage can look happy and at ease from the outside, to quote from a famous George and Ira Gershwin song, “It Ain't Necessarily So.” Often people are sweeping conflicts and feelings under the carpet. Good marriages, as well as good relationships, require work. No marriage is perfect, and if you have 80-90% what you want, that’s good enough. “Good enough” meaning nothing’s ideal and we’re always a work in progress. However, it’s important to keep standing up for your needs. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to learn to compromise. It sounds like the two of you are in a power struggle and might need help from a good professional. Marriages are personal development machines, and I’m sure both of you would be happier if you got the support you needed. If he’s not interested, you go do your work and get support. Even if only you do the work, the relationship will change.
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