Communicating Needs To Avoid Fights!
“Just tell me what you want!"
If you’ve ever been in a relationship you have either said these words -- or heard these words -- or both!
We just don't know the art of communicating needs...our needs!
It’s definitely a frustrating feeling to not know what to do to make things right. But when you come right down to it, relationships are pretty simple -- we all want to feel special to the other person and we want to be treated with love.
The key is knowing and expressing our needs so the other person can hear them. Communicating needs is an essential relationship skill to avoid fights, for both men and women
For most women, it is a core need to be treated with respect. For most men, they need to feel like they are the hero in your life.
We want more than that, of course, but if these basic needs for love and respect are not being met, the relationship will not be healthy, happy and long-term. We all start relationships by courting, which means we do all kinds of things to make our partner feel loved and special. Then what happens? Why do we stop this behavior?
“I already have the job," Tim complained, about his seven year marriage, “Why do I have to keep auditioning?"
Because relationships are like precious gardens. They need to be nurtured every day if they are going to grow and survive. Communicating needs is the key. When couples come to us in crisis and want to repair their relationship, one of the first things we ask them is: “What do you do that makes your partner feel special? What makes them feel really loved?" Often they stare blankly.
This is their first problem. Even after perhaps decades of marriage, they haven’t a clue what it is that really turns on the love-light in their relationship. Just as likely is the fact that they don’t know the answer to what makes them feel loved. So many fights are fueled with the ignorance of each other’s core needs and how to make each other feel loved.
If you want to see a miraculous renewal of love in your life, it is really easy. Find out the answer to this question -- and do it! Every day!
Three Steps to Renewing Love through communicating needs:
1) Learn what makes your partner feel really loved and special
2) Do what makes your partner feel really loved and special
3) Keep on doing it! Every day! Forever!
If you don’t have a clue what makes your partner feel really loved and special, you can do three things to improve the situation.
1) Try something you think might work and observe carefully to see if it does.
2) Stop doing things you know don't work (like being overly critical, using sarcasm, stonewalling, etc.)
3) Ask! Just ask them. Say something like: “Honey, what can I do that would make you feel really special and loved?"
Maybe they don’t have the answer on the tip of their tongue. Suggest that they think about it and let you know. You really need to know what makes your partner tick, and this information is like the treasure map to their heart and to passion between you.
Sometimes people who have never really asked this question of their mates make assumptions about the answers that are way off base. They go to all kinds of trouble doing all the wrong things for their mate. For example, if you bring home flowers every week, or keep the house spotless, and these are not what causes your partner to feel loved, you may be really missing the mark.
Here’s a list of some twenty-five items that hundreds of men and women have listed on a survey in answer to this question: ‘What makes you feel really special or loved in a relationship." The answers are in no particular order, and your mate’s choices might be completely different -- but we include it because it is some food for thought, and may trigger your curiosity. In addition to making love, which appears on both lists, here are the gender separated answers.
* Just Talking
* Saying “I love you"
* Romantic Adventures
* Helping Around House
* Being Listened To
* Back Rubs
* Having Meals Prepared
* Being Held
* Cheerful attitude
* Happy Home
* Being Close
* Shared Goals
* A loving look
* Being Needed
* Looking Nice for me
“That list makes me feel like I have to be some kind of saint!" Tim said, when I read it to him. Nobody can maintain a perfect record of always and only doing “nice things" every day.
The good news is you don't have to. According to a twenty-three-year study on why marriages succeed or fail, by John Gottman, Ph.D, all you need to do is maintain a five-to-one ratio. Gottman and his colleagues found that for couples who maintain a ratio of five positive moments or interactions to every negative one, they have the highest chance of being in a long-term, healthy relationship.
This means you can be crabby, rude, oblivious (etc.) once -- for every five times you are open, kind, and sensitive to your partner’s needs.
Notice he is not suggesting that you should always be “perfect." This doesn’t mean you can never fight. Sometimes a fight that clears the air can do more than a lifetime of suppressing or denying problems. The trick is to maintain that ratio of five good moments or interactions to every one negative one.
With this simple formula, and learning what makes your partner feel loved, you can experience an almost miraculous renewal of love in your life. You can avoid unnecessary fighting by focusing on meeting each other at the level of your true core needs.
Find out what makes your partner feel really loved and special –today! Then actually do it! Those chronic fights disappear when both people are communicating needs to each other and getting their core needs met – so give your partner a fighting chance. Tell them (nicely and sweetly) what it is you want and need to feel loved and adored.
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