I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She is in her twenties, married for a few years now, and has 2 kids under 3. To put things lightly, the stress of their busy life has begun to strain their marriage connection. It took me back to the early days when Jon and I struggled as a couple.
The basic summary was this: Hubby is easy going, laid back, safe, and low key. He’s a good match for wife who is high spirited, a go-getter, strong willed, perfectionist, high energy (and sometimes high maintenance) – hey, what do you expect when you marry a Ferrari? Hubby, under tremendous amounts of stress, began to mentally check out until it was time for bed and time to get his sexual needs met. Wife would feel frustrated, like she had to do everything. It was like having another child to take care of. She wanted to be loved, romanced and supported, but felt like raging, causing him to check out even more.
My friend shared with me that when they are in the midst of the battle, she rages and that makes him pull away, even though what she really wants is for her husband to pull her in closer and take her away from all the madness.
I responded, “but princes don’t rescue dragons.”
I explained to her if she wants to be rescued by her prince, she needs to show him her vulnerability. I remembered a time when I was raging at Jon and he stopped me and said “I don’t respond to threats, but I do respond to needs. What do you need from me?”
That was a turning point for us. When a woman comes to a man with a need, she is far more likely to evoke his instinct to rescue her. When she comes to him with fire breathing rage and anger, chances are she will push him away instead of draw him near.
So how do you keep your princess status? It starts with a choice. When you are feeling rage, you have to train yourself to think about what you really need in that moment. When I first started this process, I would think to myself “I NEED you to stop being a jerk!” Well we all know that is not the right answer, (smile). So I would have to dig deeper. Sometimes it was as simple as “I need a nap.” Sometimes it was, “I need to feel supported. I need you to let me know everything is going to be alright.”
After our conversation, my friend called up hubby and said this:
“I apologize for being a dragon. What I really need from you when things are tough, and I haven’t slept and I’m having trouble controlling my emotions, is for you to look past that. I need to be seen by you, I need to feel connected with you. I even want to be held by you. When I’m in your arms I promise not to burn your head off, and I will do my best to become the vulnerable princess you need me to be.”
At the core of a woman, she was made for vulnerability and intimacy. At the core of a man, he was made to cover and protect, and to bring strength to a woman. It seems easier to be the attractive vulnerable princess in the beginning, until we’ve been disappointed a few times. Then the test is “will I continue to choose vulnerability, or will I latch on to the false sense of security of the fire breathing dragon?” The choice is yours and you must know this – if you choose vulnerability, you will attract a prince. If you choose the fire-breathing dragon you will chase your prince away.
Guys – it’s important for you to know that it’s not always easy for us to maintain the delicate princess status. If you see us in that dragon suit you can still rescue us and save the day. Have courage to move towards us because I promise the dragon is just a façade. Every woman is just a princess in need of rescuing. If you have courage to fight the dragon once, you may never need to do it again. Sometimes we just need to know you are strong enough to face the dragon.
For more from Nicole, visit http://nicolesthoughtsandmore.blogspot.com/