Unmet needs can lead to all kinds of relationship problems, so here’s how to pinpoint exactly what your needs are and how to get them met.
We all have needs in a relationship. Most women need to feel loved, secure, and connected, while most men need to feel respected and appreciated. But did you know there are further layers to your needs, distinctions between those things that are "wants," while others are a requirement?
Many people don't know what their "real" needs are, let alone know how to express them and have them met. If you analyze why any marriage breaks down, you can usually trace it back to unmet needs.
When you don't take the time to understand your needs, wants, and requirements, and you don't know how to get them from your spouse, your marriage can start to feel a bit meh and unfulfilling.
You may think there's something wrong and start resenting or blaming each other for minor issues, which can build up into full-blown fights over time. You might also avoid each other and seek escapism and comfort via other means such as your career, children, social media, or attention from other men. If you stop and scratch beneath the surface, you'll find these distractions are nothing but a cry for unmet needs.
If you analyze why any marriage breaks down, you can usually trace it back to unmet needs.
So what’s the difference between a need, a want, and a requirement? And how do you get them met without coming across as critical, demanding, or clingy?
Needs, Wants, and Requirements
What Is a Need?
Needs are things that you can only get from your spouse within the relationship. They help to fill you up, and they make the relationship functional.
What are some examples? Most wives need to feel loved, secure, connected, and validated, whether that's through words of affirmation or loving gestures such as receiving gifts, hugs, or a bunch of flowers.
Think of a flower that needs sunshine and water to stay alive. If the flower doesn't get these things, it wilts and dies. While you won't actually die, if your needs aren't met, it will feel like you've died on the inside.
Your husband might need respect, appreciation, honesty, and sex to function in the relationship.
In contrast, men's needs tend to be different. Your husband might need respect, appreciation, honesty, and sex to function in the relationship.
What Is a Want?
Wants aren't crucial for making the relationship work, but they're kind of like the cherry on top. While you might not need these things, they're nice to have and will make your relationship feel more exciting and pleasant.
What are some examples? Perhaps you have busy lives, so it would be lovely to go on three vacations a year so you can rest and spend quality time together. Or maybe you'd like to receive a piece of jewelry because it makes you feel special. If you're on a budget, you might want two date nights a month to help keep the spark alive.
And maybe your husband wants to do more fun activities instead of going to restaurants all the time. Perhaps he wants to try archery or to play golf with you, or maybe he wants more spontaneity in the bedroom.
What Is a Requirement?
Requirements are usually non-negotiable. These are things that can make or break your relationship.
What are some examples? Faithfulness is a pretty big one. For some people, if their spouse were to cheat, that would be the end. Or maybe one spouse deeply wants children, but the other adamantly doesn't.
Requirements are things that can make or break your relationship.
While some people try to make a marriage work in these situations, they seriously compromise themselves and can end up depressed because their basic requirements are unmet. This can eventually take its toll, and the relationship slowly erodes.
How To Get Your Needs, Wants, and Requirements Met
The best way to get your needs, wants, and requirements met is to talk about them with your husband. There is an art to it, but it's easy to do if you're intentional about it.
Firstly, what you don't want to do is come off as if something is lacking in your marriage and you're unhappy. If you go in with this mindset, you'll probably complain about all the wrong things in the relationship. When anyone hears their spouse complaining, it usually falls on deaf ears, or they get defensive because it sounds like you're being critical, and it can turn into an argument.
The best way to approach it is with lightness, sensitivity, and from a place of wanting to add value to the relationship.
See the difference between the two approaches? When someone wants to add value instead of extracting value, you're more likely to listen and be willing to participate with their request. So come from this mindset and say something along the lines of:
"Darling, I was reading an article about needs, wants, and requirements in Evie Magazine, and it struck a chord. It made me think about whether I'm meeting your needs, and then I realized I don't even know what they are! Do I meet your needs? You know, like, emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually? Can we sit down one night and discover both our needs, wants, and requirements so we can feel more fulfilled in our marriage?" End it with a cheeky smile and a wink.
Being able to communicate your needs positively is the key to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling marriage.
When you sit down with your husband, read this article to him. Then discuss and write down both your needs, wants, and requirements.
This is a great learning and bonding exercise. You might discover that you've been unaware of your husband's most basic needs all this time because he's never communicated them to you (and vice versa).
When you understand both your needs, wants, and requirements and make a conscious effort to try and meet them without any expectations, this is when the magic happens. From here, you can create real trust and healing in your marriage, and you'll be able to develop that deep kind of love that lasts forever.
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