Teri did a great job yesterday introducing emotional needs and the concept of the "Love Bank". If we don't deposit into each other's emotional accounts, we could possibly end up making withdrawals. If your Love Bank ends up in the negative, it opens your marriage or relationship up to certain unhappy behaviors. Taken from Willard Harley, Jr.'s book His Needs Her Needs, we'll discuss three more needs that each person desires in a relationship. Emotional Need: Sexual Fulfillment
This includes sexual experiences that brings out enjoyable sexual responses in both of you that is frequent enough for both of you. One mistake alot of couples make is miscommunication about their sexual relationship. This is an area that needs discussion too! How often would each of you like to have sexual experiences in a week? 2-3 times? 5-6 times? How satisfied are you with your sexual relationship with your spouse/partner? For some of you, you may be getting enough sex, but not the way you like it. This needs to be discussed.
Harley lists 4 stages during a sexual experience; Arousal, Plateau, Climax & Recovery. If you're not having a satisfactory experience, then at what stage are you having problems? He also lists a Marital Golden Rule: "Meet your spouses needs as you would want your spouse to meet yours." Can you say this is true for your marriage?
Emotional Need: Conversation
This includes talking about events of the day, personal feelings, and plans for the future. It also includes showing interest in each other's favorite topics of conversation, balancing conversation & using it to inform, investigate & understand you. Most importantly, it's giving each other your undivided attention during conversation.
Things to consider when brainstorming this topic: Do you both have jobs that interfere in being able to communicate? Do either of you monopolize the conversation too much and not allow the other one to share? Do you share your dreams and goals together? If not, why? How can you re-arrange your schedules so that they overlap and allow more time for conversation?
Emotional Need: Recreational Companionship
This need involves developing interest in your favorite recreational activities, learning to be proficient in them, and joining each other in these activities. One of you may have a huge need here, and the other may have a small need here. Or, you could be pretty even on this one. Again, communicating about the frequency and what type of recreational companionship is important. For some people, they love for their spouses/partners to join with them, and for others, they prefer to be with friends or to be solo. Again, communication is key.
Everyone needs their privacy, so spending all your time doing "couple" things would not be appropriate. In the book he has a Recreational Enjoyment Inventory to help you discover mutually appealing activities. From this list you can narrow it down to 5 or 10 that you can enjoy together. Maybe you enjoy rock climbing, bowling, fishing, playing euchre or running together. The list will help you explore your options.
Hopefully you've seen from the start of this list some needs that are important to you, but also to your loved one. We encourage you to download the Emotional Needs Questionnaire for free to assess your own marital needs: http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi4501_enq.html Please join us on Thursday & Friday as Natalie & Joleen continue going over the rest of the Emotional Needs.
Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.