SOURCE: Taken from an article by Leslie Vernick
Many misunderstandings and conﬂicts arise because we never tell someone how we truly feel or ask for what we want. We assume the other person knows or should know those things without us having to say them. But trust me, they don’t.
Women are taught to communicate indirectly and, most of the time, people in our lives–especially men–don’t get it. For example, when taking a long trip, I used to say to my husband, “Are you hungry yet?” What I really meant by that question is “I’m hungry. Let’s ﬁnd a place to eat.” But that felt too bold, too direct and too selﬁsh, so instead I asked him if he was hungry. Unfortunately, he often answered, “Nope, not yet.” And then I sat and starved, waiting until he decided he was hungry enough to stop.
When I wanted to enlist his help on the weekend, I said, “What are you doing this weekend?” He always had plenty he wanted to do, so then I wouldn’t ask him to help me. Now I’ve learned to say, “There is a lot of yard work that needs to be done; I’d like you to be available to help on Saturday.” There are times when he says, “That’s ﬁne” and other times when he says, “I can’t. I planned something else.” But at least I’ve asked and he’s responded. That’s a good starting place to begin negotiation and/or compromise.
Another problem I see when I encourage women to be more direct in asking for what they want, is that they feel it’s selﬁsh to ask. Asking directly for what we want or need is not being selﬁsh; it’s being honest.
The Bible tells us that we are to “look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). It never says we are not to look out for our own interests. Asking for what you want or desire, or expressing how you feel, is not selﬁsh. Demanding that everyone always give you what you want is selﬁsh. No one always gets everything he or she wants, but it is not selﬁsh to have legitimate desires or want something God says is good for us to want. We are, however, also to be considerate and thoughtful in regard to what someone else wants. That allows loving communication and compromise to occur.
If you never ask for what you want or never share how you feel, but ﬁnd yourself resenting not getting what you want or growing tired of being in a lopsided relationship, then you must start to take responsibility for your own passivity. When we start to make a change and speak up, a conﬂict may occur because what we want is not what someone else wants.