Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Selfish Demands

Our next Lovebuster is what William Harley in his "Lovebusters" book calls, "Selfish Demands". This is another key area that needs to change for us to have successful relationships

So what is a Selfish Demand? It is "Commanding your spouse or anyone else to do things that would benefit you at their expense"

Example: Your cleaning up after dinner, kitchen a mess, kids running wild, husband watching TV, you begin feeling neglected and wonder how he could sit there when you need help. Out of utter frustration you walk up to the TV, turn it off, point your finger to your spouse and say, "I'm giving you a choice; you can either watch the kids for me or clean up the kitchen but the TV is Off!"

Now this could be turned around to be a husband that is tired after work comes home, the house is a mess, the kids are going crazy, the wife came home from work an hour earlier or is a stay home mom and the husband says, "I want you to have this house clean and organized when I come home!"

As we read this many of us may say, "Whats wrong with that - they need to get up and help!" These are very reasonable demands and in fact they should have volunteered to do this in the first place.

The problem is not the demand itself the problem is how it is being presented to the other person. This usually happens more in marriages or couple relationships because most other people in our lives wouldn't put up with it.

Think for a moment how you and your spouse ask each other for favors. Do you tell each other what to do, as if one is a sergeant and the other a private? Do you order each other around when something needs to be done? If so, you are in the habit of making demands. It's a bad habit and if left to run wild can destroy your ability to solve problems in your marriage. We don't realize the or see the damage this is doing to your marriage.

None of us wants to be bossed around, even when it means helping someone we love. A request is a different matter - a request is something that is granted and should be appreciated. A request in times of conflict or frustration can feel very unnatural because we feel so certain that we should DEMAND it.

Here is a Key: The happier you are the more you make requests, the more frustrated you are the more you make demands.

Bottom line is this: We should at times be relieved of responsibilities that should not be all ours, but the damaging way to go about this is to solve a problem in a controlling and demanding way that does not take the other persons feelings into account. There has been no discussion with the other person to understand their perspective.

A fair solution to any conflict or problem especially in marriage is one that takes both of you into account. Solving problems in a way that makes both parties happy, otherwise over time it will erode the love the unhappy spouse has for the other, which obviously will then effect the demanding spouse also.

People feel used when we show no consideration for their feelings. Even when someone agrees to help a demanding person they can come away feeling resentful if they have been ordered around. If you want you spouse or anyone else to do something for you, make a request, not a demand. The difference is found in your concern for the others feelings and your willingness to accept "no" for an answer at least temporarily. You are not the boss and others are not your slaves and yet we need help many times from each other. So how do we accomplish getting things done while still considering the feelings of others without being controlling and demanding?

Next post we will look at how to turn Selfish Demands into Thoughtful Requests.

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