Who Goes First?

Lori and I have often said the more mature spouse changes, apologises, or seeks healing first. 

All too often we see couples who act like kids, saying “I’ll do {whatever} when s/he does {whatever}”. Because of pride, fear, or general immaturity neither of them is willing to go first, and nothing ever changes.

Immature Couple © kfleen | dollarphotoclub.com

That said, I understand feeling as if it’s always on you if you’re the more mature person. “I always go first, when is it his turn to go first?” or “I always give in, when will he back down?” seem like valid questions.

Of course, you feeling this way doesn’t mean he never feels the same. We humans have an amazing ability to ignore our own failings and shortcoming while seeing every detail of what others do wrong. We’ve dealt with couples where both would testify under oath they had gone first far more often. In reality, most of these people have not gone first nearly often enough.

If your marriage is stuck, it’s going to stay stuck until you or your husband choose to start doing what’s right and keep doing it regardless of what the other does. You can wait for him to grow up enough to do it, or you can work on getting yourself to be mature enough to do it. Or you can watch your marriage circle the drain.

~ Paul – I’m XY and I have often thought my wife is more mature – but I’m working on it!

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3 Comments on “Who Goes First?

  1. It can be very difficult to make the first move, or to be wholehearted about it, if you feel that it is unfair. But if you can let go and just do it, without playing the martyr, without feeling superior, without pointing it out to your partner – you may be very surprised at what positive effects it has on your relationship.
    Rosemary recently posted…Are You Being Authentic In Your Relationship?My Profile

  2. I agree with Rosemary, and would offer that another healthy boundary we can draw around going first is to be responsible for our own wellbeing in the process.

    Example: Yesterday I chose a bad time to discuss something with my husband. He dismissed me by changing the subject and I reacted by flinching at his touch. I apologized for choosing the wrong time and for brushing his hand away from my body. I did not apologize for needing to talk through an issue. And I own the responsibility of bringing it up at another, more convenient, time.

    If I defined going first as not bringing up any difficult issues that might make him uncomfortable, I would not be caring for myself nor doing what is best for our relationship.

    Sometimes going first is not about backing down or letting go. Sometimes it means having the courage to point out the elephant in the room.

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