For years I was haunted by the “ Burger Syndrome”, haunted because I kept giving Shannon the wrong burger. I mean a burger is a burger, right? WRONG!
I had never heard of this concept until Shannon, my husband introduced it to me. I don't remember the first time he said it to me, but I remember the period of time that he began to say it, and that continued for at least the next ten years. I mean who takes ten years to grasp a concept? (screw face, hand raised) ME! Was it the concept I had a problem understanding, or was it more about accepting the idea I could possibly be a horrible wife?
In hindsight, it was definitely the latter.
So what is the burger syndrome?
The burger syndrome is when your significant other ask you for a Big Mac and you bring them a Whopper. Not only do you bring them a Whopper, but you expect them to be ok with the fact that you brought them something they didn't want. I mean after all, a burger is a burger, right?!
The burger is a metaphor of course, but once I truly accepted what Shannon was saying this metaphor hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember quite vividly there were so many times Shannon would share with me what he needed from me emotionally, sexually, as his wife and life partner, and I just wasn't connecting the dots too well. We were young in our marriage; However he had been married before, and this was my first go-round with marriage. I was young and clueless. I understood him no more than I understood my sons who hadn't even been born yet. Ultimately I really didn't understand marriage and what it meant to be a wife/helpmeet.
I felt that because I thought I was a good wife that was good enough. I did the things that I thought he should be happy with. I did what I thought he needed, what I saw my mother do for my father. I did what I knew to do, and when it seemed that Shannon was not pleased with some of the things I did, I would get very offended; defensive; and quite honestly lacked the desire to understand his point of view. Why? Because I thought he should be grateful for my contributions to the marriage. He was grateful, he just wasn't happy. This is where I got stuck.
How can I be doing all these things for you and you not be happy. Shannon’s simple answer, well, because I am asking you for a Big Mac and you keep coming home with a Whopper. In other words, Im telling you what I want and what I need. I need a wife who engages me, who desires me, who initiates sex, who doesn't judge me, and you think because you cook, clean, and don't deny me sex when I ask, that should be good enough? Well it’s not.
My goal should have been meeting Shannon’s needs as stated by him, not supplying my interpretation of his needs through my upbringing and social filter.
I fought this for years, and it caused havoc in my marriage. Even when I stopped fighting it, it took another few years to break the habit of giving him what I was use to giving. I had to be hyper intentional about being the wife that Shannon needed, not the wife that I was comfortable being. Now I make it my goal to shower him with “Big Macs” and the beauty is, now I love giving him exactly what he wants.
SOMETHING TO PONDER:
Am I giving my husband or wife the easy microwave not much thought needed version of myself, or am I putting in the effort to give them exactly what they are asking me for?
Ask your spouse how you are doing with meeting their needs as stated by them?
No matter their response; wether you agree or not, just LISTEN, and thank them for their honesty.
Take the information you received and begin making the necessary adjustments.
When you meet the needs of your spouse, if he/she is genuinely invested in your marriage, they will in-kind give you what you need.