Join me for part two of the series, Relationship Foundations, where we look at the core concepts that will change the way you approach the people you love. This week we talk about Desires and Wants.
What do you truly want in your relationship? What if your partner doesn't want the same thing? How should you feel about your wants and desires when they seem to cause you pain?
Dealing with things on your own (*lonely*) and turning toward your partner and constantly being let down (*frustrating*) aren't the only two options when it comes to desires in your relationship. In this episode, I show you a third alternative.
Wanting is a big part of being human. Connecting with shared wants is a meaningful way to love each other. I'll show you what to do when your expectations aren't met and share a practical exercise to help couples align their wants and build a more genuine connection. Join us on this transformative journey and redefine your relationship.
Take this work and apply it in my cost-effective coaching group Clarity+Courage, where you will get live coaching, application tools, workshops, lessons, Scripture studies, and other tools that help you apply the concepts so you can create change. When you join, you get access to a whole vault of classes, tools, and coaching calls.
Learn more at https://www.myhappyvault.com.
Questions? Email Jill directly at Jill@thehappiestlives.com
You are listening to the Happiest Lives podcast with Jill Lillard, episode number 19. Welcome to the Happiest Lives podcast, where you'll learn to think better, feel better and become the woman God says you already are. Here's your host, jill Lillard. Hey, hey, everyone, welcome back to the Relationship Foundation series. Last week, we talked about how your relationship with someone else is the sum of the thoughts that you have about them, and how you can start working on your relationship by becoming aware of your thoughts. We also discussed how faith in Jesus impacts your sense of identity, worth and having or not having impacting how you think about others in the situations you find yourself in. So often we start relationship work externally, with what is going on with the other person. Instead, I suggest that if you want to have a huge impact on your relationships, start your relationship work internally, looking at what you are thinking and determining if your thoughts produce good fruit. I see my clients doing this work on themselves and they start thinking other people are changing, when really they are the ones thinking differently. Sometimes others begin to show up differently, as we do, but even if they don't, we can experience the benefits of a renewed mind and spirit that does not depend on them changing. Think of a particular relationship you want to improve. Ask yourself why am I in this relationship? Have you ever asked that? I think it's so important to recognize we are choosing our relationships and to like the reasons why we're choosing them. Oftentimes we carry an unconscious desire for another person to make us happy and if we aren't aware of that, we will feel entitled to certain things and make demands on the other person, holding them to a standard we have made up in our mind. We expect them to follow our book of rules, our relationship manual. Our relationship manual includes things we want and like Don't yell at me. Help me clean the house, ask me how my day is, give me the royal treatment on my birthday and Mother's Day, surprise me with random gifts, text me sweet messages throughout the day, tell me you love me. The list of things we think will make us happy goes on and on. If your primary goal of a relationship is that it will make your life better, then you're probably feeling powerless and disappointed. Listen to me Other people can't make you happy, and yet so often we attribute our happiness or unhappiness to things they are doing or not doing. Even if they did everything you wanted, you might still be unhappy. So what does this mean for our book of wants and desires? I will first say that often we don't let others know what is in our relationship manual. Yet we get angry, disappointed, frustrated and controlling when they don't show up how we want them to. We hold them to our expectations even though we haven't communicated what we want. So I do recommend letting others know what you want and see if they want this too. But know this they may not want to do the things you want them to do, or they may agree, but they don't remember to do the things. They will behave however they want, and there's nothing you can do about it. Yes, you can try and make them do it, but often people rebel against something they feel forced to do, or they do it, but it doesn't feel good to them. If we try to manage them doing what we want, we often don't feel happy about it. Either we see how they are doing it the wrong way, or we wish they did it without our prompting. And so our relationship manual sets us up for disappointment because it shows us how short others are falling. Isn't this what the Bible tells us about the law? The law is God's manual, his desires and wants. His moral standards expose our human shortcomings and sinfulness. It demonstrates the inability of humans to perfectly meet God's standards and earn salvation. However, by the grace of God, the law finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, who established a new covenant based on grace and faith, believing and receiving. While God's law cannot save, it continues to guide believers in righteous living as they walk in the grace and love of God. It's a relationship based on willingness, believing and receiving that saves us, not adherence to rules. Change starts not by works or actions, but in your heart. Isn't this beautiful? So if God does not hold our failure to meet his standards against us when we believe and receive, who are we to withhold love from another when they fail to meet our expectations? What we really long for is a relationship with that other person, which may not equate to them, following our relationship manual, fulfilling our deepest desires. So here is what I suggest Write down all your expectations for the other person in this relationship. Don't hold back. This is your relationship manual. Now imagine this person has a relationship manual for you, because they do, whether they realize it or not. Imagine they give you this manual of how they want you to behave so they will be happy. It may include things like I need you to be positive and not in a bad mood. I need you not to get upset with me when I leave things on the counters. I need you to watch football with me on Sundays. I need you to greet me cheerfully when I come home from work. The list goes on and on. How does that make you feel? For most of us, this feels terrible, and yet we do it to others. As I said earlier, I think if you want or desire something in your relationship, you should tell the other person, and I still hold on to that. If you have a manual for them, you should at least let them know. The problem is, when we hang our happiness on whether they comply or not, we are using our manuals against ourselves. The bottom line is human beings get to do what they want. God has given us all free will and he has not assigned people the role of making others happy. Yes, he has called us to love and serve others, but that is not the same as striving to please them. There is a place within us that only the Lord can fill. He wants to be the center of our wants, desires and confidence and for this reason, others will always fall short because they are not God. I like to believe that God has given me everything I need and His grace is sufficient. When I lack, unmet wants and desires are prompts to turn toward Him and let Him fill me up. We should support and encourage others, as we are all part of one body where Christ is ahead. But our central purpose is not to make others happy or for them to make us happy. Our joy comes from the Lord and only he will fully satisfy. I think it's super important to turn toward your partner, deepen your understanding of who they are and what they like, and find ways to love and honor each other. I think it's important to consider others as you consider yourself and ask for what you want and make a request. However, as you ask, set the other person free from following your manual. In fact, throw away the manual. Ask without demanding, knowing they can say no. When you stop thinking you have to control them and get them to comply to secure your happiness, you are set free. Most of the suffering in relationships comes from people not behaving how we think they should behave. So if you can just stop having manuals and let others behave how they want to, taking responsibility for your happiness, your life will change completely. Let's say you tell your husband I would love for you to put your dirty clothes in a hamper instead of the floor. And he continues to put them on the floor, even though you've asked him not to. What do you make it mean when he does that? This will determine the future of your relationship? What so many of us choose to make this mean at that moment is he is inconsiderate, he's irresponsible, he expects me to do everything, he doesn't love me enough. The list goes on and on. How you interpret his noncompliance deteriorates the quality of your relationship. But what if, instead, you decide I will not let my happiness in this relationship be defined by whether he puts his clothes in the hamper Instead of making it mean he's expecting you to do everything or he doesn't love you. What if you think it has nothing to do with you? Maybe he simply forgot, or maybe he intentionally didn't do it, as he's playing out some dynamic with his mother from childhood. But it's not about you. I had a couple whose wife was the primary breadwetter, working full time. She did not contribute as much to the household chores as he did. But she agreed to do the laundry, working night shifts and sleeping by day. Laundry would pile up and she could not seem to follow through on a system for getting it done. He made her lack of follow through mean that she did not consider him. He believed if she loved him she would follow through with their commitments at home. Feeling unloved, he would criticize and lecture her about how she was inconsiderate and tell her if she cared about the relationship, she would get the laundry done. He closed himself off to her and resentment grew in his heart as he stopped turning toward her lovingly. I pointed out to him it may or may not be true that your wife does not consider you. I see a lot of evidence that she does. But let's say you're right and she does not consider you in this manner. What if this had nothing to do with her love and concern for you? What if her brain worked differently or it was part of her ADHD or her work schedule? What if it was not mean spirited and she was just doing the best? She knows how Her following his manual became more important to him than the connection in love, as he made her actions a symbol of not caring. He was so rigid in how he defined love and what that looked like that he could not get past her lack of follow through. In fact, he only found evidence that she did not consider him. The truth is, he can make himself so much more happy than she could make him. It is okay that he wanted her to contribute more at home, and I can understand how disappointing it would be when she didn't follow through with her commitments. It's okay that he asked for more help. It's healthy to turn toward and share your heart and find ways to honor one another best. Holding so tightly to his expectations and what he had made her actions mean just was not beneficial to him. Demanding that she follow his manual prevented him from problem solving, loving her and growing through their differences. Years ago my husband commented that I slammed the door too hard the car door and yet, try as I may, I just could not seem to remember to be more gentle when I closed it. It would just slip my mind to even think about it. So I could tell him I'll do my best not to slam the door, but sometimes I'm just not going to remember. So what I really want for you is not to get mad at me. If I do Now. He may still get mad, as I may absentmindedly slam the door. He let me know what he wanted and I let him know what I wanted, and we both genuinely care about the other person. If he gets mad when I slam the door, I don't have to make that mean that he's being a jerk, any more than he has to make it mean that I'm being a jerk if I slam the door. The difference between wanting and requesting something and demanding something is what we make compliance mean. When our peace and joy are hinging on their compliance, then we are going to be very miserable. An exercise I have my couples do is individually making a list of the things they want. Include all the things in your relationship manual. Include things you want that you already have and things you want that you don't have. Then compare your list and see what things match up. Being able to acknowledge what you both want in areas where your wants don't match up is very helpful. For instance, if you are a very extroverted social person and it's important for you to be able to go out socially together as a couple and your partner wants to be able to stay home from social events, you have a problem. You have to take ownership of your decision to be in a relationship with someone who does not want to go to social gatherings with you. You have to acknowledge a mismatch in this area, but also your desire to be in a relationship with one another. This way, you're not forcing someone to honor your manual if they don't want or are unwilling to. As you look at your matches and mismatches and decide what you want to do with that information, you may discover ways you are willing to honor your partner's desires and dreams, even if it's not exactly what you want. Being willing to honor your partner's dreams is different from being a people pleaser, which bears the fruits of resentment and animosity. I'm not going to say a whole lot about this today, as I have an upcoming episode in this series dedicated to the topic of people pleasing, but for now, decide what areas there is a want match, what areas there aren't and what areas you're willing to honor yourself and the other person. Then you can put your energy into coming together on the things you both want, understanding your want matches and mismatches, defining how you want to honor the other person and yourself, and then letting go of areas that don't match up allows you to create a loving, genuine, independent relationship where you set yourself and the other person free. Do you really want your husband to do that thing he really doesn't want to do just to get your approval, even if it makes him miserable? Are you in a relationship to tap everything out of the person against their will, or are you here to learn what love truly is? Are you here to let them be the person they are, outside of your manual? I know that I want to love my people for who they are, not for the potential or who I want them to be or what I want them to do, but purely for who they are. This is the type of relationship that makes me exhale, relax and feel safe. I encourage you, if you are married, to sit down and do this one match exercise with your husband. Discover what things he is doing just to gain your approval and let him know he doesn't need to keep doing those things unless he truly wants to and likes his reasons why he is doing them. When we stop demanding in our relationship and just share our desires in a way that is open and inviting, we release bitterness. We free others from resenting or dreading being around us when they feel they can't be true to themselves in our presence. Spend time nurturing your want matches and let the other things go. Acknowledge your manuals and demands and then throw them away as you see how much pain they bring you. If there is something you deeply desire that your partner does not want, don't make it mean something detrimental about the relationship, yourself or the other person. Turn toward the Lord with your desires and let him satisfy your deepest longings. I promise you your life will be so much richer. All right, my friends, if you want to apply what you're learning, then go to wwwmyhappyvaultcom and sign up for clarity and courage, my online coaching program. It is chock full of resources, tools and coaching opportunities. You don't have to do this work alone. I'm here to help and I want to help you really create change, not just tell you a bunch of interesting things. I want to help you apply what you're learning. So if you aren't in clarity and courage, you need to sign up. If you want to try it out, know that you can cancel anytime, but I think you'll want to stay for a while. Next week, on the podcast, we will talk about boundaries. I cannot wait. I cannot wait, I will catch you then.