I See You

Unknown-1In the earlier days of our marriage, I did some crazy, immature things and said some unnecessarily hurtful things to my spouse.  I didn’t really want to hurt him, even though it felt like it at the time. What I really wanted was for him to see me.  So, I cried, I ranted, I accused.  Once I even got out of the car in the middle of nowhere — great drama.  All in pursuit of just one thing:  I wanted to be acknowledged by him, for my needs to matter to him. 

But, he was locked up in the prison of his own wanting, his need to be heard, to be acknowledged. Some couples spend a large portion of their time in their separate prisons.  They will stay that way until the pain gets so great that they will flee the relationship or decide to make a change.  So, what to do?

As Ghandi instructed, “Be the change you want to see.”  So, if I want to be heard by my spouse, seen by my spouse, I can begin by truly listening to him. What is he saying?  What is he needing?  It may help to ask some questions, such as, “What do you need, my Love?”  “How can I be helpful to you?”

But what if his needs conflict with mine, as is often the case?  I can ask, “Is there a way that we can both get our needs met?”  Sometimes, the need is not really in the form that one of us is so strongly advocating.  Rather, it is the underlying content of being acknowledged.  Often, the whole emotional exchange melts away when I give up my agenda long enough to really see him.  Interesting how he begins to heal as I heal.   

Today I will give my spouse that which we all want.  Perhaps I can learn from the movie, Avatar, by letting him hear me say, “I see you.”  

 

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