My mom had a scrapbook of cartoons she had collected in the late 50’s and early 60’s. In one, a couple was sitting in their easy chairs, both looking cross. He was holding a picket sign reading, “No sex, no love.” Her sign read, “No love, no sex.”
Each of them was saying “You go first – give me what I want, and then I will give you what you want.” Of course, couples do this in all kinds of ways. We all want what we want, and we feel more like giving when we have received. We try to teach our children to be better than this, all the while still struggling with it ourselves.
I always tell men they are supposed to lead by example. If they act like a grown up, they encourage their wife to do the same. As a believer in servant leadership, I put this at his feet. But what do you do if he refuses to step up?
The truth is the more mature spouse starts change. If neither spouse is mature, the couple is stuck. If one is grown up enough to make a unilateral change, improvement is possible. If he is not giving you what you want or need, your choices are to stay where you are, or start giving him what he wants and needs. There is no guarantee doing this will result in him making changes, but more often than not, it does happen… eventually. Of course, it is also the right things to do, and doing it because it is right is a great reason to do it.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m trying to be a grown up!