Asking: “What do you need?”
All people have emotional needs that are inherently part of who they are. When these needs are not met, we may feel sad, depressed, lonely, misunderstood, or disappointed. When couples are not good at expressing their needs to one another, they may grow frustrated and resentful that their partner cannot meet their needs. It is vital that couples learn to express specifically what their emotional needs are and what they need their partner to do to help them feel that their need is understood. It is vital that you learn to identify and specify what needs you have at various times. You and your partner must learn to comfortably use the phrase “what do you need?” First of all, it is important to know that each of us has a specific way in which we feel loved and this will help you understand what it is that you need. Once you have identified the possible need(s) you have, think of specific ways in which that need could have been met by your partner, in other words, what exactly would have to happen for you to feel that your need had been fulfilled? Now make a promise to yourself that the next time you and your partner are having an argument or discussion that you will use the phrase: “I NEED _____________________”, early on in the conversation. Also promise yourself that you will ask your partner: “WHAT DO YOU NEED?” early on in the conversation. Understanding what you yourself need as well as making a commitment to do your best to be open to hearing what your partner’s needs are will improve communication and give you both an effective tool in reaching solutions quicker. Keep in mind, that just because you are aware of a need and express it to your partner, it does not mean that your partner will be able to fulfill that need for you every time. It is important to be aware of the limits of what your partner is capable of doing. It may be necessary for your partners to ask “WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?” at times when all needs are not able to be satisfied by your partner. It is important to know that the desire they have to fulfill your need is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this tool. Hopefully you both will have one another’s best interests at heart and have an honest desire for one another’s happiness and well-being in the relationship. You can sometimes find ways to fulfill your own needs, and in fact this is an important piece to learn to do as well. Knowing what your core needs are will benefit your relationships and your life in more ways than you can imagine.