For the next few weeks I am going to go through Willard Harley’s book, “Fall in Love, Stay in Love.“ You can never get away from it but the fact of the matter is that unless a relationship is consistently cultivated and maintained it will never be what it was meant to be. I know that you have probably have heard that saying one too many times but truth is truth. So far we went over Pt. 1 about the importance of feeling loved. Now for Pt 2 (Needs).
Lets just face it. We all have emotional needs. No matter how you put it, say it, or attempt to deny it, there are just some things we just can’t live without in a relationship. All to often though you will hear, “She’s needy.” “He expects me to . . ..” “All she wants to do is talk about our relationship and our feelings!” “Can’t he just listen to what I’m saying and not try to solve the problem?” But feelings and needs aren’t bad. They are part of a person’s personality make-up. Harley defines Emotional Needs as:
A craving that, when satisfied, makes us feel happy and fulfilled and, when unsatisfied, makes us feel unhappy and frustrated.
You have to understand that needs change from time to time and you can never be wrong in having them. These are part of your personality. Harley makes a great point that each spouse should be on a mission to become the expert on meeting their spouse’s emotional needs. So many times we view the relationship only through our own eyes and not through the eyes of the other person.
We assume that if we see something a certain way that they will see it too because of our “love.” Spouses find themselves in heated arguments about needs because they have forgotten that men and women are different. The need that most women find the most important is the least important need in the mind of a man!
So what are the two to do? Well, you first have to know what is important to you before you can expect anyone to meet that need. Here is a list from the book:
- Sexual Fulfillment
- Recreational Companionship
- Physical Attractiveness
- Domestic Support
- Honesty and Openness
- Financial Support
- Family Commitment
This of course is not an exhaustive list of needs. However, it should be used as a starting point. Ask yourself, “what would make you that happiest if it were satisfied?” Depending on how long you have been in the relationship or marriage it might take some work to meet the other’s needs. Meeting needs are more about creating habits that meets those needs. For example, the husband may have to practice and make a concerted effort to open the door for his wife if he never really did it before and he doesn’t think that opening a door for his wife is important to him. Take the time to listen and think of ways that you would be excited to meet those needs.
No matter what your needs are be sure that the both of you sit down and take turns letting each one explain and describe how that need can be satisfied.