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People grow, change and don't fear choices
Posted May 6, 2006
Q. I am a 63-year-old woman and have been married for 38 years. My husband is a strong man who is very set in his ways. I have catered to his needs over the years. Now, when I bring up things that I would like to do, such as redecorate a room, he tells me things are fine they way they are. I am really frustrated. Help! -- E.H., California
A. Every relationship has its own dynamics. These are based on the roles we play.
By stating that you cater to his needs, you have given him a sense of power and authority. This may have fostered his ability to wield control.
Throughout our relationships, we make certain choices and establish unwritten rules. Ortega Y Gasset says, "The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart." Know that the choices you made were appropriate for your own soul's growth.
If it is time to change, you have the power to do so. But it requires a lot of clear communication.
First, identify the rules and agreements that have been established. If you are really serious about being heard, give yourself permission to express your feelings.
Explain your new found sense of expression. Be specific about your requests. Acknowledge that you now feel strongly about having a voice in the relationship. Let him know it is important that your needs be met, too.
John Updike said, "Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant, a teacher and a learner." Maybe it's time for a change of roles.