18 Feb What to do when desire becomes demand in marriage.
The honeymoon phase of your relationship is arguably one of the highest desire points of your relationship. What is really fantastic at this stage is that both of you are high desire. Everything is great and nothing needs to be changed.
But as your relationship becomes more important to both of you, and your relationship becomes more exclusive, the relationship adds greater amounts of responsibilities that you naturally no longer handle alone. Introduce cooperation and coordination. The relationship is no longer just about your desire for each other, but how much individual desire you have to cooperate to handle your responsibilities together. This is where your past comes in. How have you historically done with cooperation and coordination? How did you do as a kid? How did you get along with your siblings? Your parents? Others? Depending how you did will most likely determine how you do now (barring any big changes since then).
As your relationship transitions out of the honeymoon stage, feelings of butterflies transition to your ability to cooperate and coordinate. If you’re both good at it, you’ll retain a lot of your honeymoon good will. It might not be at the same level of intensity, but it can certainly be reignited with flowers given or a weekend away.
If you’re not as good at cooperating and coordinating as your relationship will require, introduce emotional demand. In fact, to the degree you can’t cooperate and coordinate will be the degree desire will be replaced with demand. And take into account that you never really, truly have both partners connecting at the same desire level again, with most things, like you did in the honeymoon phase. Your desire will be there over certain togetherness things, but most likely one partner’s desire will fall more than the other’s. And so you’ll get one partner who is the higher desire partner and the other one who is the lower desire partner. The higher desire partner will demand that the other do more things, like going out or helping out. The lower desire partner will begin to demand that the other stop pressuring him or her with those same things. So when things heat up, you’ll have this reactivity occur forever and a day.
So how does this stop? Well, first of all, your relationship can thrive again because you did it at least once in the honeymoon phase. What was occurring back then was that you were putting your best foot forward, or what I call staying on your side of the street. You had desire minus demand. If you want more of what you had, it’s time to get back on your side of the street again. Time to keep your desire, but lower or drop out the emotional demand. Your desire is your own, not meant to beat your partner over the head with it.
Secondly, in the honeymoon phase, you were in pretty good control of yourself, otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to put your best foot forward. Granted, it didn’t hurt that your partner was in great control of themselves too, but you were certainly controlling yourself. There is only one person who can control you, and that is you. So it is time to get off your partners back and out of their head and back to controlling yourself. When you’re in control of yourself, you will be much better able to cooperate and coordinate, which is the necessary ingredient in any thriving relationship.
Finally, in the honeymoon phase you were a giver. Your desire came in handy not only for your own well-being, but it added up to the benefit of your partner as well. But it is really hard to be a giver when you’re demanding. You begin expending more energy trying to get your partner to change rather than giving to them. And your partner may be expending more energy trying to get you to stop rather than giving. Only in an economy of desire do we give, not in demand.
So restart your desire machine. Kick the tires, change the emotional oil, clean out the starter. It’ll start. And when it runs, drive your world again with desire and see how far you get. You never know what adventure it will take you on…once again.