In Willard Harley's book "His Needs, Her Needs", he includes an Emotional Needs Questionnaire for couples. This book breaks down 10 primary needs that individuals have in relationships, and the questionnaire helps you evaluate how important each of the needs are. Here at Imagine Hope, we use this tool often to get couples think about what needs are being met well and to explain to their partner the areas that need improvement. This book gives specific warnings to couples that if the emotional needs are not being met in the relationship, they may be vulnerable to an affair. Harley explains the concept of "The Love Bank" as it pertains to relationships. The idea is that each of you have love accounts for the one another. As your partner meets your needs, there are deposits placed in the account. If needs aren't being met, there are withdraws and the account eventually becomes empty and might even close. This metaphor is a great way to imagine how the little things you do for your partner will all add up and make a huge difference in how loved he/ she feels by you.
Remember that just because a need is important to YOU does not mean that need has as much priority to your partner. Taking the questionnaire helps you give a "blue print" to your partner on how they can love you. Once you know, you can study your partner and make intentional deposits into the love bank.
This week Imagine Hope is going to break down each of the 10 needs to help you evaluate how important each need is for you.
Emotional Need: Affection
Affection is the expression of love in words, cards, gifts, touch, hugs, kisses, and courtesies. Doing this creates an environment that clearly and repeatedly expresses love. It communicates that you are thinking of your partner, you are there for them, and will protect them.
Many people confuse affection and sex, or think they are linked together. Yes, increased affection in a relationship can increase the frequency of sex, but showing affection does not equal ending up in the bedroom. When you are intentional about showing affection a person feels cared for and loved. This increases emotional safety in the relationship. As a relationship feels more connected and safe, often times sexual activity increases because you feel so emotionally connected and want to express it physically.
Remember even if you aren't an affectionate person, you might have to learn and practice in order to meet this need for your partner. Otherwise you might end up making more withdraws than deposits in their account.
You can find a free copy of the Emotional Needs Questionnaire at: http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi4501_enq.html We encourage you and your partner to take time to fill it out and keep checking back with us all week to understand more about each need!
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.