Need and Want are two totally different words with two totally different meanings. However, as a society, we’ve started mixing the meaning of them up in such a manner, that it’s hard to decipher the difference of the two on an instinctual level, as well as an emotional level.
Well, when a man says “I’m starving,” does he want or need food? Most likely he wants food. The human body actually has enough reserve of fat for energy to last an average man 2 weeks without food as long as he has water… hell Ghandi lasted 21 days. But if you asked that man at 10 pm after a long day of standing in line and chasing children in Disneyland if he was hungry, he’d probably tell you he needs to eat. When a woman says I need a pedicure, or I need to get my hair done, well in her mind, she is so rugged, that she in fact believes her want is a need.
But the determination between want and need aren’t so easy sometimes. Sometimes want and need do in fact work hand in hand. For instance when you tell a child, “I need you to understand what I am saying to you” and “I want you to understand me,” that comes from the same place in your heart, where you are overall saying, “what I am saying to you is of the utmost importance… please let this soak in.”
Well, I have my wants, and I have my needs, and if I sit down for a moment before I finalize a decision, I can pretty much decipher the difference of the two, but usually that only is actually true if the decision has to do with my internal feelings… which… I imagine is true with all people.
The problem here is that once I married my wife, I was now ultimately responsible for two people. Life forced me to take a step back and interpret the scenario a little closer, and a lot of my needs became most of my wants. For instance, I’ve literally been eyeing this macro lens for my DSLR as well as speedflash for well over a year. 3 years ago, I would’ve talked myself into needing these items, and they would’ve probably been sitting at home right now with very little use out of them. However, they are things of luxury now, and they are merely something I would like to have if there was a lot of extra play money laying around.
When it was just the two of us, the need to get out of the house would take us out on $100-$200 date nights to see a musical or the newest Cirque du Soleil, but not without trying some posh restaurant found on Yelp–or maybe a little weekend getaway trip to the mountains. Whereas now with the baby, needing to get out of the house now is… is just for a little fresh air, and those date nights are a thing of the wants.
As the situation changes, the definition between needs and wants change. That’s normal, and that’s natural. However, as the Alpha (I say Alpha because I don’t want to rule out any women in my position) I think the internalization of need and want differ from our significant others.
As I sit here, staring out of the 12th floor window from the Best Western Hotel on the outskirts of Seoul as the rain’s-a-pourin and the thunderin’s-a… thunderin… I feel a little helpless. I feel helpless because on the other side of the phone I can hear the helplessness in my wife’s voice, knowing she’s halfway around the world and could really use my help about now…
Initially this job I’m currently on was supposed to be a quick two week trip–routine really in nature. I was supposed to show up, check out the system, and leave on the scheduled flight I had outta here, back to the family I’ve left behind. However as unexpected as life is, things happen, and obligations must be met before you can sign off as done. I understand that from a life in the military, and as much as I’m ok with it, it still isn’t preferred.
But my obligations, don’t just affect me anymore. We are a new family, me and Paps, and there is a child in the house.
We were fortunate for me to have been able to take off six weeks of Paid Family Leave before this trip, and even though I was present in the house all six of those weeks, I wasn’t available. I was in a Statistics class that I had to retake as a prerequisite for grad school, and understanding that course took an easy 8-10 hours of me studying everyday… but that’s another story… However, if my wife needed a break, I could hear it in her voice, and I was there to give it to her. If she wanted to shower, I was there to give her the time away. I was there for support, and I was there if she needed to hear another person’s voice although it may be a very brief conversation. I was there to take care of the dogs, and shop for groceries, and although I may not have been immediately around, I was still there.
I can tell… she needs that right now.
And I can make the argument from the stone-cold side of myself and say, “she’ll get through this… Every good parent figures it out…” And I can make the argument that there are single parents out there doing so much more. But when I hear her voice… I hear the voice of a single parent. I hear the tired drawl in her voice, and the quivering of her strength on the verge of snapping. I can hear the questioning of self, and most of all…I can hear the loneliness, and need for just one minute to herself.
No… I don’t write this for her to be pitied… no. This is still about needs and wants–and as much as I want to be home, I see this time as an opportunity for my wife to take action into her own hands and reach out for help. I have told her many times, many times before the baby even, that if she needs help, she needs to ask for it. But I swear… the stubbornness of that woman will be the death of me. However, the thing is I am not home, and my need is for my family to be taken care of… not my want…. my need.
I can’t take care of her unless she is willing to ask for help.
I NEED HER TO ASK FOR HELP…
I recently wrote a post “It takes a village,” about something completely different. But that slogan… that quote… that way of life is so meaningful to me, and it drains energy out of me that my wife and I are not on the same page with it. Her want to be comfortable in her skin, may be her need, but I see it as a want. It completely works against my best interest, and the fact is, I can literally do nothing about it except recommend that she calls somebody for help.
I don’t say this because I don’t think she can’t do it on her own, and I’m not sure if subconsciously that’s what she think I think about her, but I do it because everyone needs a boost sometimes. We weren’t meant to do this alone… It takes a village. Although I know our wants and needs will differ, maybe some will be similar, the need for me to know that she is taken care of, in my eyes, outweigh any of both of our wants. I’m going to need her to trust me on this…
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