Why do we couple-up?
According to Dr. Harley of MarriageBuilders.com (from whom I have adapted these descriptions of needs) couples cite the 10 emotional needs listed below as most important to them. These are what they want out of their primary love relationship. For fun, rank order these with #1 (most important to you) to #10 (least important to you), and compare notes with your lover. You might each learn a thing or two.
_____ AFFECTION (you have a consistent and willing place in your partner’s arms and heart for touch, hugs and snuggles)
_____ SEXUAL FULFILLMENT (you enjoy making love and find your sexual relationship is allowed both full expression and evolution).
_____ RECREATIONAL COMPANIONSHIP (you enjoy spending most of your free time together and find that certain activities are enhanced by sharing them with your partner.)
_____ INTIMATE CONVERSATION (your partner is your go-to person for what is on your mind. You find it easy to open up to your partner because he or she listens and understands you in a way that feels satisfying and unique.)
_____ HONESTY AND OPENNESS (you trust one another to share what is important and not to withhold secrets that might be hurtful.)
_____ PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS (you are proud to be with your partner, you like showing him or her off to your friends, you are happy to have “caught” such a person!)
_____ DOMESTIC SUPPORT (you and your partner have figured out how to run a home together. You know what your areas of strength and weakness are and you both manage to navigate these successfully so your home space meets both your needs.)
_____ FINANCIAL SUPPORT (you and your partner can discuss how the income you need is brought in. You can agree as to how each of you contributes, how much, how often and what to do when you need to renegotiate these needs.)
_____ FAMILY COMMITMENT (you and your partner have a similar appetite for sharing your lives with extended family. You can manage your in-laws with consideration and compassion and can put your marriage ahead of pressure from outside.)
_____ ADMIRATION (your partner is proud of who you are, what you accomplish, how you accomplish things and tells you this quite often).
It’s pretty common to find we try to fulfill the needs we want for our partner – assuming they want the same thing. So, if you’ve not been connecting as well with your sweetie lately – compare notes. If your #1 is Intimate Conversation and your partner’s #1 is Recreational Companionship, it might explain why the fishing trips are so fraught. You want to use this time away for some D & M’s (deep and meaningfuls) whilst your partner just hopes you’ll both pursue fish.
Watch this space for EMOTIONS 101 – a five-part series, starting on 4 March 2013, on how to recognize, talk about, express and use your emotions effectively.