Short of being married to a psychic, you are going to have to learn how to communicate your needs in a healthful way if you want your relationship to flourish.
Relationships of all kinds take communication and a lot of effort, and marriage is the hardest work of all, that is why more than likely you have had multiple relationships/marriages in your life, or at least know 20 others that have. Divorce & break-ups aren’t rampant because relationships have become any more difficult than they were 100 years ago – no actually life has become easier. (think indoor plumbing, air conditioning, remote controls, etc) But somehow the idea that relationships could go on auto-pilot and just be ‘chill’ has been taken hook, line, & sinker and this lie has created more issues than rabbits do babies.
I can’t tell you how many times, when coaching someone, I hear them say, “Well, he/she should already KNOW [fill in the blank _____how I feel / what I need / what to do / what not to do / etc.] When I ask them if their partner is psychic and if not then HOW should the other person ‘already know’, they typically say the same thing, “It is just common sense!”
Ahhhh! Common sense, huh? Let’s talk about ‘common sense’. Common sense is defined as “sound judgment derived from experience rather than study.” But here’s the catch, ‘common sense‘ is neither common, nor does it always make sense to everyone. If common sense was common, then everyone would automatically understand each other and we would have world peace. Also, common sense isn’t real sense, if we define sense as being sound judgment, because relying on experience alone doesn’t usually offer enough information to draw reliable conclusions. Because we ALL HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES!!
The word common, by definition, suggests common sense is held by a large number of people. But the idea that if most people think something makes sense then it must be sound judgment has been disproven time and time again. And, by the way, common sense is often used by people who don’t have the real knowledge, expertise or direct experience to actually make sound judgments. But I digress….
So, with this client I will usually explain like this; “if you were raised in a dysfunctional family you have been exposed to certain experiences that someone else in a healthy family may not have been. So, even though your experience was dysfunctional, and as we know many families in this country are, you could by default consider your experience and gained knowledge ‘common sense’ simply because a majority of people around you have experienced a similar dysfunctional family. However is your collective ‘common sense’ better than the individual that was raised in a healthy family? I hope you have figured out that the answer is NO. Now, lets say there are two of you, both in dysfunctional families, but one family is stricken with poverty and has alcohol abuse going on while the other family is wealthy but has perfectionist workaholic parents. Is there ‘common experience’ among poverty stricken alcoholic families? Yes. But will that same common experience cross over into the wealthy perfectionist household? Not necessarily. So assuming the other person has the same ‘common sense’ about knowing what you need is ludicrous, unless they are a sibling raised in your same household, not only is it ludicrous, it is flat-out LAZY and screams of an inability to properly express one’s needs and communicate. It lacks the ability to be courageous and vulnerable, it lacks the ability to do what is needed in order to foster healthy relationships. And therefore, my dear, be prepared to go through a lot of failed relationships until you get tired of broken hearts and choose to do the hard stuff – like communicate”
By this time the individual is typically glazed over as they look at me in disbelief. I then ask them, “What is it that you fear will happen if you actually go out on a limb and EXPLAIN to your partner what you want or need?” and in their shaky voice it is typically a fear that once they have made themselves vulnerable their partner won’t care enough to meet those needs and they will suffer rejection and their low self-worth is then further validated.
So, this BS (yes I said it) of claiming “It’s just common sense” is actually a tool of self-defense. It is a shield that protects us from vulnerability. It is the armor we wear to protect us from having to communicate our wants/needs/dreams/desires. But the sad truth is we want others to be vulnerable with us while we remain there with our relationship armor on. A healthy relationship is one built on intimacy. Intimacy is hard work. It is INTO-ME-YOU-SEE and that means dropping the armor and getting naked. Be fruitful and multiply requires being naked, otherwise you are will never bare fruit and you will suffer division. Have you ever tried to procreate with a suit of armor on?