LAST week, I shared that my husband and I have just written a marriage guide book, which goes along with our TV show, Talking with the Thabas. This week, I want to share with you an excerpt from the chapter on his needs/her needs.
If you have watched the television show, then you know that the audience asks my husband and I any question they want. In this particular episode, a question was asked: “What are warning signs to look out for to be able to tell if your spouse is not having his/her needs met?
Below is our answer as written in our marriage guide book, which was written to help any couple enrich their marriage.
The first thing we would advise is study the 10 main needs we discuss in this particular episode.
Do an honest evaluation of yourself and your spouse and determine whether both of you feel your needs are being met.
If they are not, in a kind, rational, non-accusatory way, explain which needs are not being met. This is the ideal way if the two of you have decided to work on your marriage.
However, the reality is many times, one or both is not willing to work on it and may not be able to articulate exactly what it is they need.
They also have not learned the art of communication to simply express their needs.
They merely know they are not enjoying marriage the way they had hoped. If you have studied the needs and are looking for warning signs, then you must listen past the complaints to the underlying need not being met.
For example, a man might complain that the two of you don’t make love enough.
“You are never in the mood! Why are you always tired? This is getting on my nerves how I have to beg you as if you are not my wife!” This is a warning sign that his sexual needs are not being met. Another example, a woman might say, “You are an awful father! I feel like I am raising these kids alone! Do you even care about us or just yourself!?” This is a warning sign that her need for family commitment is not being met.
It would be ideal to not complain and insult, but in the absence of good communication skills, it is more likely that the conversation of how to meet needs will start by looking negative.
The spouse who is trying to work on the marriage will learn to respond by saying: “I am sorry you feel that I am not meeting such and such need. Please help me know what I can do to better meet your need for this.”
Also, the spouse who wants her/his needs met will learn to not criticise the other person, but rather calmly state what they need.
One last tip on this issue. You both have the right to legitimately want your needs met.
However, you need to be careful to be realistic in what you are expecting. You also need to learn to give a clear plan of how your spouse can meet the need.
For example, let’s say a wife has a need for more family commitment from her husband.
That is acceptable. However, it is unacceptable for her to think he will take off work or leave work tasks unfinished on a regular basis to deal with the children.
She would do better to look at his schedule and make a very clear request. She could say something like this: “I am feeling like I need more family commitment from you. I realise you work hard and I don’t want this to be a burden.
However, in the absence of this family commitment, it is hard for me to admire and respect you the way I know you desire. May I offer a few practical suggestions for how I think you might make me fill this need?”
Assuming he says yes, she could proceed to say, “Once you have settled after returning from work, I need you to sit with the kids for at least 30 minutes every night and help me check homework. On Fridays, I know your boss is a bit more lenient. Could you take our son to soccer practice and stay and watch him so he feels you support him in what he loves?”
An action plan is measurable and specific.
This allows the spouse to know exactly what they need to do to fulfil the needs of the other party without having to play mind games that end up frustrating both of you!
For more practical tips which are guaranteed to enhance your relationship with your partner, this book is available in electronic copy for only US$3,99 on our website, www.ashleythaba.com.
We have written it because we believe strong relationships make for strong people.
When you are in love and feel secure and happy in your relationship, we believe you will be a happier more productive member of society in general.
We hope you can download the book and begin to grow today.
Ashley Thaba is a life-coach, team-building facilitator and motivational speaker. She is also the author of Conquering the Giants and Dive In. You can view some of her works on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba.