Is marriage partially about meeting each other’s primary needs?
What happens to a marriage when couples don’t listen to each other’s needs or attempt to fulfill them?
Can engaged couples benefit from assessing each other’s likely marital needs and whether they will be able to meet them?
Oh, this is a complex dance indeed!
It’s sometimes difficult to discern our own needs, let alone those of a spouse or partner. However, your secure foundation in marriage is linked to sorting out and communicating together what you need from each other. Mind reading does not work. Nor does assuming that you know what your partner needs, or taking action based on what you want for yourself. You both likely have different priorities.
If you have been taught the importance of selfless love and service, you may hesitate to speak up with your partner about a potential need. Moderation applies, for a marriage of partners means building love and caring between you mutually, and being of service to each other. Where there is a foundation of mutual service to each other, you are then positioned to generously serve others.
As human beings, we are also prone to selfish tendencies at times. We might demand or insist that a partner do something for us. If the act is done with resentment or resistance though, we are no further ahead. In a mature, happy marriage, both the husband and wife must be in a mutually fulfilling dance, motivated by love and wanting the best for each other.
Alternatively, perhaps you lack self-respect, and find it difficult to speak up about your needs. A supportive partner can gradually assist you to identify what is important, while you work to increase your respect for yourself as a noble, valuable person.
Every individual will have a different set of priorities, and these will also change over time and with new circumstances. Consider for yourself what might be most important to you now from this small selection of a long list of potential needs:
- Financial support
- Affection, connection, and love
- Spiritual companionship
- Recreational companionship
- Domestic support
- Family commitment
- Personal growth
- Humor, laughter, and lightness
As you identify your primary needs that only a marriage partner can meet well, you will have to work out together how to meet those needs as consistently as possible. If you regularly fail to meet each other’s most important needs, you are likely putting your marriage at risk. If you are not yet married and have concerns about whether you can meet each other’s high priority needs, hit the pause button and assess where you are going and why.
What helps you with understanding and meeting needs?
- Good communication
- Flexibility and patience
- An attitude of joyful fun and service
Remember as you meet each other’s needs, that’s it’s helpful to share compliments and gratitude.
Appreciate your dance partner!
Note: For couples wanting to explore this topic more deeply and engage in transforming your marriage, pick up our new Marriage Sparks online couple mini-Ecourse on Expectations and Needs.