The Secret Lives of Our Partners’ Unspoken Desires


A husband's unspoken desires finally being revealed.

It can be difficult to unearth partners’ unspoken desires. Even little, seemingly mundane things that would make a husband or wife’s life better can just lie unmentioned and undiscovered. For years. And for what?

Do you ever wonder why your mate doesn’t tell you what they want? Do you sometimes think about how easy life would be if your partner just asked for what he or she needed from you? Does it sometimes just stun you to find out there is something very simple your mate has been waiting for and they haven’t told you what it is and they have been waiting for it for years?

Getting the Dish on the Dishes

I felt this just last night at the diner table. Let me back up, in my house I am very lucky; I know this, you see, my husband is a great cook, and he prefers to eat well so he does most of the cooking. I have a lot of skills, cooking is not one of them. I always clean up though. It seems like a good trade off.

I do not like washing dishes, pots, and pans or cleaning a messy stove. But I figure this is the bargain. I do it without complaining. I do it because I am thinking about that beautiful meal we just finished and I am grateful.

So last night I was just sitting down after a long day at the office and I just told him in a joking way I was too tired to do the dishes right then. He said don’t worry I will do them. Again I am grateful for this caring man. And that led to a discussion about people who stack their dishes and leave them for the next day.

Lots of people do this and it works for them. If you have kids who need help with homework or other things, there’s no way you can do two things at once. I really get this. But then out of nowhere he says, “It really bothers me to have anything stacked up on the cutting board.”

Discovering Little Things That Your Partner Wants

Unearthing a partner's unspoken desires can be a journey, or just something you stumble across.

I thought about all the things I put on the cutting board regularly which include; drying utensils, and my daily teapot and cup. So I say, “Do you mean the teapot and cup?” And he said, “YES!”

And then my next thought was, wow I have been placing them on the cutting board for years, many, many years. And so I ask him, “Has this bothered you all this time?” And he said, “Yeah, but it’s not that big of a deal.” And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have stopped doing it.”

I razzed him a bit and then he added, “And if you are stacking dishes in the sink I don’t like them on the left side where the disposal is, I prefer them to be placed in the right sink.”

Again I am stunned that these are things that matter to him. They might be little, but they are important to him. I immediately told him of course I will do what he asks. I will not stack dishes in the left sink again.

Be Open About Your Needs, However Small, in a Relationship

But this whole exchange got me to wondering how many of us in relationships don’t ask for what we want? Just think about how much stress I have caused my beloved because without knowing I would just plop down the teapot and stack on the left. I have done both these actions daily for many, many years.

I know how to get things done in my life. I am pretty quick to say what bothers me and ask for what I would like. Clearly, he does not work the same.

I asked him not to wait so long the next time he wants something changed. Maybe I should ask him about other things in the house that he might want me to alter. I will, knowing that he might need some encouragement to ask for changes.

We all like things around us to be just so. The difference is, some of us will be vocal about it, others will not. It’s something to notice about yourself and your mate.

For years my partner stressed about the teapot, and I didn’t have a clue that it bothered him. Today I made sure to put the teapot in a different place. It felt good. I think he noticed and I bet it felt good to him too.

Being Open with Your Partner About One Another’s Needs & Desires

Read a Book About Communicating Your Unspoken Desires

Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. Book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn and develop tools for communicating in an open, healthy way that will keep you and your partner understanding one another and seeing to each other’s needs. My new book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship, might just help you build the the empathy to keep a warm, happy relationship thriving. What have you got to lose?

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