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Marriage Counseling Myths: “My Partner Should Meet All of My Needs”
Debunking Myths with Marriage Counseling: “My Partner Should Meet all of My Needs”
You may be seeking marriage counseling because your needs are not being met by your partner. And that makes sense! Relationships are an important part of being human, and we need social connection to thrive.
However, you may find yourself inadvertently expecting your partner to fill all of your social needs. And that’s common, too. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that this is a common sentiment for many couples. (Related Article: Building Emotional Intimacy). In movies, books, and even with other couples, you receive messages that say that your partner should be your “best friend”. That they should be the first, and maybe only, one you turn to when you are struggling.
This isn’t necessarily bad, either. Of course you should be able to find support and love from your spouse, but should they be the sole source of emotional support in your life? Today, you will learn more about this marriage myth and how you can find balance in your own relationship.
Relationships Meet Our Needs
But wait- there is some truth to this marriage myth. After all, you and I have relationships for this exact purpose; to fulfill our needs. Now, that might sound transactional. Luckily, your best relationships will be reciprocal, meaning that you will get back what you give. (Related article: Marriage Counseling: Promoting Partnership). That’s why your relationships and connections are so valuable. They help you to find more happiness than you could on your own. They help to lighten your burdens and improve your life.. And vis versa! Your loved ones also benefit from the needs you fulfill in their lives, as well.
Seeking Support from Many Sources
When you started your relationship with your partner, you may have noticed how you spent most of your free time with them. And that’s normal in the early stages of a relationship! It makes sense that you want to be together. You make each other happy, after all!
But, there seems to be a cultural idea that the beginning stages of your relationship should last forever. And that you should always turn to your partner for fulfillment, validation, and support. That might have been the case in the beginning. But, relationships change and evolve, and so will the way you rely on your partner for support. (Related Article: Marriage Myth- “You Complete Me”).
As your relationship develops and grows, you will work to find balance between relying on your partner and seeking the support of other friends and family. This evolution in your relationship is called differentiation, and it’s an important part of developing a long-term, resilient relationship with your spouse. (Related article: Enmeshment, Detachment, and Differentiation).
Think of it this way; you and your spouse start each day with a limited amount of energy and emotional bandwidth. That might fluctuate throughout the day.
Some days you may wake up with a lot of emotional resources that you can offer to your spouse as support. But, other days you may need more support than your partner has the ability to give. And vis versa! The difficult periods in your relationship will ebb and flow. Sometimes you will be the partner who needs more, and sometimes it’ll be your spouse. And it’s important for each of you to find ways to appropriately balance and seek outside support when needed.
Finding a way to differentiate how you support each other can help to avoid burnout for both of you, and can help you find emotional balance in your marriage. (Related Article: Myth- Marriage Needs to Be 50/50).
Marriage Counseling Helps You Learn Differentiation
If you are reading this and thinking “oh no, we are really not doing well at this differentiation thing. We are doomed!”, don’t worry! Learning and applying differentiation in your relationship takes trial and error and is a process.
It’s okay if you haven’t perfectly mastered differentiation. That’s where marriage counseling can be a great resource for you and your spouse. (Related Article: Couples Therapy). Your therapist can help you understand how to find balance and when you can lean on each other for support. Ready to get started? Start couples therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins