In marriage, each partner must balance their ego with their unheard cries for help. I learned this in my first marriage and am re-learning long forgotten lessons another time now. In the early days of my marriage with DB would ask for me to do a few specific things to ease him into the marriage - small changes, small gestures of understanding and kindness for me but deeply significant in their impact to him. I let my ego get in the way of doing what I was being asked to. I heard him making demands instead of hearing his cries for help. I would be more than willing to help but I refused to meet any demands. Such is the nature of perception.
Each of us has a different way of reaching out for help from the one we love. For over a year DB appealed and I refused to comply because he was not talking the language I wanted him to talk in. Now he has given up and it is my turn to cry for help. His ego may be a little smaller than mine but it still makes its presence felt. I am not speaking the language that will appeal to his heart. As a result, he is holding back the help I am seeking just as I have for the longest time.
Ironically, now that he never mentions it again, I find myself doing all those little things he had so badly wanted me to do for such a long time. He notices, but it means a lot less now than it would have once. I am only now beginning to realize how much work it takes to hear and be heard effectively in a marriage. I wonder if things are not that much harder for both of us because we've been single and on our own for so long that any request to change from our partner feels like an imposition and our immediate reaction is to bristle. Being relationship-free for as long as we have both been make our communication skills with each other more than a little rusty. When you throw a little bit of ego in the mix - it makes for a potent combination.