As you are reading the blogs for the week on Emotional Needs, are you imagining your love tank full or empty? What about your spouse? How would they answer that question? Hopefully you have read Teri and Tamara's prior blogs on this topic. If not, feel free to catch up now. They are FULL of info adapted from Willard F Harley, Jr.'s book His Needs Her Needs. It is a great read. Here are three more needs to think about. Honesty and Openness
Being honest and open starts with talking about positive and negative feelings to each other. This includes opening up about events of the past, daily events, as well as being open and honest about your schedule and where you will be. Being open about your plans for the future, not leaving a false impression, and answering all questions truthfully and completely are also included in this need.
This seems like a no-brainer to many couples. "Of course I want that but isn't that just expected in a relationship?" Yes, it is expected, but it might be a much higher need on the list of those who have been hurt by their spouse or in the past by infidelity or addictions. When trust has been broken, it is often the top need for the spouse who was hurt.
Additionally, it is important to be open with our spouses. This is the person you have chosen to spend your entire life. To achieve optimal intimacy, you must be open and honest.
It is important to remember that lies of omission or "little white lies" can be damaging to a relationship as well. These can slowly put a hole in a spouse's love tank making a leak for sure.
This is taking care of your body thru good nutrition and exercise. This includes wearing your hair and clothing in a way that is attractive and tasteful.
We get a lot of rolling of the eyes and "Are you kidding me, that is so superficial!" when we discuss this in our office. Think about it- probably one thing that initially attracted you to your spouse was how they looked. Then you found other wonderful qualities about them that you liked as well. But let's face it, this IS important to us.
We are not saying you have to be bone skinny and flashing major brand name clothes to appease your spouse. We are saying, do you take care of yourself like you did when you were dating? Do you get lazy about the way you look (we all have days we want to be "grunge" but on an average do we take care of ourselves)? Do you care about the way you look or do you tell yourself, "I'm married, I don't have to worry about impressing him/her anymore!"? How does your spouse feel about the way you look?
You definitely don't want to be controlled by each other and telling each other how to dress, look, and smell. But do you take into consideration that your spouse loves you in those cute jeans? Wear them when you're going out to let him know you appreciate that he likes you in them! Do you still put on cologne for her? She still loves the way you smell in it.
It's important to not get lazy. The same way we feel it is important to go on dates with our spouse, it is important to look nice for them like we did when we were dating them.
Financial support is providing food, clothing, shelter, and necessities for your family at the standard of living that is acceptable to you. This includes not traveling and working hours unacceptable to you.
This one can be tricky as well. What is "an acceptable standard of living"? Hopefully, this is something that couples talk about before getting married. (You do if you complete our premarital package!) This may require compromise on each partner's part. It's important to set a budget together and decide where the money will go and to look at things realistically. This can offer a lot of security to a spouse who may have grown up without financial security.
Someone with this needs wants to know they will be taken care of- either by their partner or together (dual incomes). But it is important to talk about it and remain open to changes as they come.
I hope today you have identified a need your spouse may need for you to work on. As mentioned in the book this information was adapted from, this can affair-proof your marriage and make a really good one even greater. Thank you for reading. Have a great week!
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.