TheConfidante In the Media
My partner won’t cuddle me, my husband won’t pick up his clothes off the floor, my wife won’t…. I sure don’t have a shortage of content on my counselling client’s spousal shortfalls.
Freida would arrive each fortnight for her relationship counselling session with her husband, Fred. She would relentlessly complain how much she longed for him to welcome her home with a warm embrace. Freida would appreciate ANY gentle caress; her hair, the brush of her arm, a quick squeeze and especially cosy snuggles on the couch after dinner in the evening.
Whilst Fred heard, he seemed to fall short of following through with these requests.
Eventually, Freida gave up on seeking affection in the way she truly longed for it.
As it turns out, Fred was super uncomfortable with public displays of affection or any of that style of closeness. He never experienced this at home as a child. Nonetheless, his family were loving and supportive. His Dad attended all his sporting events, enthusiastically yelling tips from the sidelines, encourage and applaud his academic achievements and drive all over the state for his competitions. Fred’s Mum would cook up a storm for all his mates, be a kind listening ear etc. but, they were not the touchy-feely type of folk.
Understandably, the whole caressing, hugs and holding hands thing outside the bedroom was a foreign and weird concept for Fred – he just didn’t get the importance. Fred would rather get busy supporting Freida with running errands, around the yard and helping with their children’s gymnastics and soccer games.
As you do when you’re repeatedly not getting what you want, Freida gave up asking! Freida and Fred continued to coast along however became despondent. They arrived in my counselling room hoping to avoid spiralling into deeper despair, disconnection and resentment.
Throughout our time together, Fred dared to reveal he missed Freida telling him what a great Dad he is. He used to love her sweet messages left on the kitchen bench encouraging him for his next presentation at work. It was obvious they were attempting to show love in all the wrong ways – their own way. Not each other’s!
Furthermore, throughout their fifteen year marriage, they had diverted to an imbalanced focus on work, the children and their individual pursuits - their intimate relationship was the last priority left to run itself.
Three common things were undoing Freida and Fred:
In time, they achieved a fantastic and intimate connection for them resulting in:
- understanding how important it was for Freida to enjoy regular cuddles
- Fred being courageous to outline exactly what words of encouragement he appreciated and how
- weekly "Alignment" catch-ups on their deck over a cuppa where they highlighted what was going well in their relationship, areas of concern and discuss plans for the coming weeks'
Do you need to:
- ask for what you need that makes you feel truly loved?
- consider if you are giving what your spouse needs and not just what you think they like?
- check in your levels of familiarity that breeds apathy in meeting each other's needs?
Love is… when your spouse selflessly expresses affection how you long for it and not what they want.
Don’t forget to diarise my Facebook Lives each Therapeutic Thursday morning for Thriving Relationships to inject some relational inspirations into your weekend!
Joanne Wilson is the Relationship Rejuvenator and author of Renovate Your Relationship – All The DIY Tools For Your Most Important Project ($29.99). She is a neuropsychotherapist inspiring the community for thriving and dynamic relationships that impact generations for mental well-being. Find out more at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised. Approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focussed Therapy and Emotionally Focussed Therapy may be incorporated.
Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples online around the world and servicing areas for face to face sessions including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.