If you are finding your "love bank" empty in your relationship, there's a good chance that you or your partner are lacking in one (or more) critical area of meeting the other's Emotional Needs. This week, Imagine Hope is reviewing the areas of emotional needs, based on the excellent book by Willard Harley: "His Needs, Her Needs". If you haven't had a chance to check out the previous topics from earlier in the week, I encourage you to do so before you continue reading. Today we will cover the final three areas: Domestic Support, Family Commitment and Admiration. Domestic Support
Sometimes it's difficult to imagine how domestic support could be something that meets an emotional need, but anyone with children can probably relate to how loving it feels when your spouse shares with household tasks! Domestic Support means that it's important for you to receive support in the things that keep your household functioning: cleaning the house, helping out with child care, cooking meals, washing dishes, etc.
When these tasks aren't shared by both partners in a relationship, after a few years of marriage, it can explode into conflict like a ticking time bomb-- especially after children enter into the picture! With the majority of couples experiencing a dual career relationship, the need for domestic support from your spouse may increase. If you feel very fulfilled when your spouse does these things, and find yourself annoyed and irritated when they aren't done, you most likely have a strong need for domestic support.
Does your spouse frequently complain that you don't spend enough time with the kids or with the family? If so, Family Commitment might be one area of the relationship that your partner feels unfulfilled.
Family commitment is the responsibility for the development of the children, teaching them values and spending quality time with them developing a relationship. If this area is important for your spouse, doing this will deposit many units into their "love bank", but neglecting the children and family unit will withdraw from the love bank and cause frustration and/or unhappiness with your spouse.
Remember when you first start dating? Ahh... all of those lovely compliments and feelings of admiration and adoration that came from your (now) spouse! It's easy to get out of the habit of compliments as life takes us in a million different directions, but those compliments and words of admiration might have been a big reason your spouse wanted to marry you in the first place... which means that without them, it might also be one area that causes them the greatest amount of pain!
Admiration means that our spouse is making a commitment to ensuring that we feel respected, valued, cherished and appreciated. This could be through words or actions. It only takes a second to verbalize something we appreciate about our spouse each day, and it could make a ton of deposits in your partner's love bank if this is a great need for them.
Over time, not only can compliments fall to the wayside in a relationship, but they can be replaced by criticism. If you have a great need for admiration, criticism from your spouse may hurt you deeply. If this is so, only a few kind words from your spouse can feel restoring and reassuring. If your partner's need for admiration in the relationship is strong, be careful to not make withdraws from their love bank by unnecessary hurtful words. Appreciation is one of the easiest needs to meet, if you are mindful of this need with your spouse. Even if Admiration isn't high on your spouse's list of emotional needs, it's good practice and great modeling for your children to see you regularly showing admiration and appreciation for each other.
We hope you have found this week's blog topic helpful. Each of the areas discussed in this week's blog are concrete ways you can strengthen your relationship and affair proof your marriage. For more information on how you can work on the Emotional Needs in your relationship, we highly recommend reading "His Needs, Her Needs" by Willard F. Harley, Jr. and start making deposits in your partner's love bank today!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.