You have a right to ask for the things you need in a relationship. In fact you have a responsibility to yourself and your partner to be clear about your needs. Relying on mind reading to get your needs fulfilled can create feelings of anger and contempt. If left unchecked this could even bring about the demise of your relationship. To keep your relationship strong and happy it’s up to you to make your needs clearly known.
You are the expert on yourself, no one else, not even your partner can read your mind and know what you need in the way of support, intimate contact, time alone, domestic order, independence, sex, love financial security, etc..
So if articulating your needs is not something you’ve felt comfortable doing, how do you start going about it? And how do you do it in a way that doesn’t create defensiveness and anger? You want to present your needs in such a way that your partner will be willing to listen and fulfill those needs.
5 Things to keep in mind
- Keep your tone of voice level and as calm as possible. Don’t let anger or annoyance creep into your voice. Using even a slightly heated, annoyed, accusatory or patronizing tone, can escalate things into an unproductive argument.
- Pick a time when your partner can give you their full attention. You don’t want their annoyance about the circumstances to color how they receive your request. Select a time when they are in a good mood and ready to listen.
- Start out by expressing a small need rather than a large contentious one. This is especially true if your relationship has been struggling. Once you start meeting each other’s needs successfully, you’ll be in a better position to tackle more polarizing problems.
- Don’t feel like having to “ask” for something makes it less valuable. (as if I shouldn’t have to ask) If you want your needs met I think you should. Don’t take the attitude of, “if he loved me he would know”, or if he wasn’t so selfish he’d just naturally do it.
- Request a change in behavior rather than attacking the person, and above all be specific. (Below are a few examples of what to say and how to say it.)
- “You’re a slob, I want you to be neater.” Instead say, “I would really like it and it would be helpful to me if you could put your dirty dishes away in the dishwasher and close the cabinets when you’re done.”
- “I want you to be less critical of me.” Instead say, “It’s really hurtful when you make jokes about my weight. I would appreciate it if you didn’t do that.”
- “You don’t know how to demonstrate your love.” Instead say, “It would mean a lot to me if you would give me a kiss when I came home from work and ask me how my day was.”
- “You are so clingy.” Instead say, “I would like to hang out with my friends once a month.”
- Oftentimes it’s not what we say but how we say it that makes a huge difference in successful communication.
- If you’re on the receiving end of a “needs” request. One of the most important things to do is to try and accept the others person’s “quirks.” You may not understand why he or she likes things done in a certain way or why something that seems so trivial to you may be important to them. The more you can compromise, and accommodate, each other’s unique needs the happier you both will be.
- There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. I think we all want the best results from our relationships.
- Prosperity doesn’t just mean “money”. It means “wholeness”. God wants you to be whole (translation: successful), in every area of your life.
Verse of the day: