Have you ever struggled with needing reassurance in your relationships?
First and foremost know that it is a very valid need. So much so that even one of the 5 Love Languages is Words of Affirmation - one of the most direct ways to assure someone. So if it's a love LANGUAGE, you can infer that it is a valid need in relationships. For some, it may be more of a need if it is one of their main languages. So if some of us need it, how do we approach fulfilling that need healthily? Don't worry, this is one of my biggest struggles so I have tips.
*If you're spiritual.* Pray. Not every negative thought is your own or a result of something. Pray, clear your mind, and refocus. Don't let the enemy distract you.
Seek therapy/counseling. I know, I know. It's the "obvious" answer, but sometimes the extent of the need for reassurance can have deeper roots, for example emotional abuse. A mental health professional can help you better navigate some of these feelings and thoughts and find that root. If you and your partner don't know what you're targeting, how will you ever aim?
Even after counseling, healing is still a process, so what do you do in the meantime?
Now we get to the good stuff: Trade Places. No I don't mean in the bedroom, although post wedding that would be a very viable optio--nevermind.
This is what I really mean by trading places:
So there's a TV show called Leverage. It's great; 10/10 recommend if you're a nerd. Basically the show is based around 5 ex-thieves who now are affluent and steal for GOOD. Anytime someone's in a bind and the legal route isn't plausible, they come in and save the day for their clients. The squad consists of:
Nate: the leader, mastermind
Hardison: the hacker, technology geek
Sophie: the grifter, imposter
Parker: multipurpose thief, mostly does break-ins, crack safes, and stunt work
Elliot: the hitter, team security
This one particular episode, the squad was attempting to steal a piece of artwork. Their whereabouts were compromised by a former rival and half the squad is taken captive: Nate, Hardison, and Parker. Now the squad has vastly different skill sets, but works well as a unit. Each person has their niche and plays their part well to make sure the con goes as planned. So with half the team unavailable, what do you do?
Towards the end of the episode we find Sophie having to make an exchange to get Parker back. She, the rival, and his henchmen meet rooftop to attempt to exchange the artwork for Parker. The building below them is swarming with more men so obviously regardless of the deal, it's a trap. Here's what happened:
Parker: "You know he got guys at the bottom of the stairs, right?"
Sophie: "Of course."
Parker: "So how are you going to get us out of this?"
Sophie: "I have no idea how to get us off this roof, (slight pause) and then I asked myself, 'what would Parker do?'" Slowly she unveils that underneath her overclothes is a vest - Parker's vest. Parker throws herself onto Sophie and they escape. The remaining half of the squad has a similar solution, but I won't spoil it all.
So what does this have to do with reassurance and relationships? Bare with me. Although my partner does a very good job bearing my burden and affirming me when needed, he can't and won't be available 24-7. Our partners cannot make us whole; there are only help-mates. My partner and I have spent an extensive amount of time talking about roles, strengths, and weaknesses among us. We have even explored our motivational gifts through the Gift Test (Motivational Gifts Survey - gifttest.org - Home page) so we KNOW where we fit personally and with each other. I highly recommend this quiz for both couples and singles. As far as our main gifts go I am the server, and he is the perceiver. Where I feel, he sees, to put things plainly. It works beautifully together as a unit, but when one person is down or unable to perform in their role, similar to our characters in Leverage, there must be some outside-the-box thinking to make things work. Yes, your partner should compromise. A relationship won't always be 50/50 all the time. After compromises are made, though, what do you do in times when you STILL need? Well this may help.
When I'm working graveyard in the lab, overwhelmed by the number of pending tests, and I so desperately need to hear my guy say, "breathe," but he can't because he is now sleep, do I disturb him? No, it isn't a emergency. He wouldn't care, but still. For a while I had no idea how to get through the days.
So I started asking myself...
"What would Ant do?"
The more I started making that conscious effort to put myself in his mindset and remember things he's already said and shown me, the anxiety dissipated little by little until it became manageable. Still a struggle, still seeking counseling for it, but now it is manageable, and that makes all the difference.
See when you take the time to know someone, and I mean REALLY know someone, you can trade places as needed to get through whatever mindset or situation you're faced with. Relationships are riddled with highs and lows but with some work and patience you can find a rhythm.