Trust and reassurance: opposing needs in conversation?

The following is a pretty classic conversation my husband Dave and I would have a couple of years ago as we would get into the car:

Melissa: Do you know where we are going?
Dave: Of course I know where we are going.
M: Did you get directions?
D: Yep, I got directions. That’s how I know where we are going.
M: How long will it take us to get there?
D: Google maps says 30 minutes.
M: What’s the address?
D: I know where we are going.

Before reading Mars and Venus Together Forever: Relationship Skills for Lasting Love by John Gray, these conversations went on all the way to our destination. And if we got lost, that was a whole other bucket of conversation.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that all of my questions were around needing reassurance that Dave knew where we were going and all of Dave’s answers echoed his need for me to trust him that he did.

According to John Gray in Mars and Venus Together Forever: Relationship Skills for Lasting Love by John Gray, trust is especially important for men and reassurance is especially important for women. I have found that trust and reassurance are like a pair of opposing needs in relationships*. Conversations where I am calling out for reassurance are inevitably screaming to Dave that I am not trusting him.

I had not used the word reassurance in a sentence before I had read Mars and Venus Together Forever: Relationship Skills for Lasting Loveby John Gray. Now, I start my sentences with “I just need some reassurance that….” all the time and it has changed our conversations. The first step is noticing that what you are really asking for is reassurance, and the second step is asking for it.

By starting the conversation with stating that I need reassurance it simply sets the tone around me needing reassurance instead of Dave feeling like I don’t trust him*. Also, Dave may say “I’ve got this”, which lets me know he needs me to just trust him.

It turns out that Dave is happy to reassure me all over the place. And, you know what? I’ve also induldged in my trust in him to take the wheel while I sit back and enjoy the ride.

How does your partner reassure you? How do you show trust in your partner? 

*These observations are completely anecdotal but they seem to ring true. I’d be interested to know: Do they ring true for you?
**Of course, you have to actually trust him. If you don’t, that’s a bigger issue…

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