Blackmailing Love

This is a great statement from Virginia Satir about the demands of love:

“One of the truly basic problems is that our society bases the marital relationship almost completely on love and then imposes demands on it that love can never solely fulfill.

  • If you love me you won’t do anything without me
  • if you love me you’ll do what I say
  • If you’ve met you’ll give me what I want
  • If you love me you’ll know what I want before I ask.

These kinds of practices soon make love into a kind of blackmail.”

The last bullet point above is one of the more common ailments I see with couples in my counseling office. It’s a bind that many couples are familiar with. If I tell you what I want, and you don’t provide it, I face rejection and pain. If I don’t tell you what I want, and you don’t provide it, the pain and rejection is diluted. If you do provide what I want without me asking … it’s like winning the lottery!

Don’t hide your needs, wants, and desires. There’s no way others can get to know you and how to love you if these things are secrets.

Too often marriages play a game with many of the cards hidden from one or both partners. It becomes impossible to win the game together, so we instead settle for a victory on our own. Unfortunately when the game goes this way, we ultimately lose and end up on our own.