My husband, Trey, and I aren’t “perfect,” BUT we do share something very rare and that is our MUTUAL need for deep connection, vulnerability, honesty, understanding, and intimacy. We are both able to express our needs without fear. We BOTH are. It has taken a lot of work, together and individually, and we bring the depth and breadth of our individual life experiences, including some bad relationships, to the table.
If one person in the relationship isn’t willing to express their own needs, and accept and honor their partner’s needs, this is a fundamental problem, because you can’t “make someone” willing, and you can’t “get someone” to open up. (Read that again.)
I feel Trey’s moods and ask him what he needs from me when he is in a not-so-good one. If that’s “nothing” or “solitude”, I know not to take that as a personal attack on me as I understand that sometimes I need those same things. He asks me that same question and instead of assuming that my shitty mood, tears, or reclusiveness is somehow caused by something he did or didn’t do, he will ask me what I am going through.
“I don’t know what I need right now,” usually means we haven’t fully processed whatever we are feeling or experiencing. It usually comes after we sit in it for a bit, and sometimes it ain’t pretty. “I just need you to hold me,” is a big one for both of us. Physical touch is important to us both. We don’t want to talk, we just want to feel comforted and hugged. It’s understood. And if one of us gets squirmy or too hot (usually me) it’s understood and not taken personally.
I have laid in his arms, curled up in a ball, broken down, and ugly cried MANY times. He has done the same (just not nearly as much a me). I genuinely love being his safe place, and he is mine. Most people like to feel needed in the relationship, not just loved and admired. Trey and I both share that. I have been in relationships where I just didn’t feel needed, and that sucks.
But the only way to effectively articulate what you need from your partner is to develop self-awareness and become aware of your moods, your strengths, and your flawed thinking. (Read that again.)
Who are you?
What do you need from your partner?
What are you able to provide for your partner?
When I say “safe, calm, and relaxed”, what does that look like for you?
Are you able to express what you need right now?
It’s okay if you can’t, but it sure helps your partner be the partner you need, if you can. This isn’t about a list of demands. True partnership is NOT a dictatorship. (Duh!) To my knowledge, no one can read minds, so if you aren’t letting them know what’s up it can cause a lot of frustration in a relationship.
When people say relationships take work, they’re right; ours certainly does. But if it’s one-sided work, stonewalling, and constant frustration, that’s what generally ends things. One of the top reasons couples seek a coach or therapist is because, “we need to learn how to communicate.” But you can’t communicate what you don’t know.
I encourage you to INDIVIDUALLY dig deep and understand who you are and what you need, and THEN bravely express that to each other. If you need help, that’s what we do. And we LOVE helping people live their lives full of confidence. Calmer, safer, and more relaxed. It’s our “why.”
our mutual need
our mutual need