Top 10 Emotional Needs In Intimate Relationships and How to Meet Them
Around 40% of married couples are divorcing every year in the USA.
And the percentage of single adults today is around 45%.
Fewer and fewer people are willing to commit themselves to one partner for life.
One of the main reasons for failed marriages is the unmet needs of one or both spouses.
In fact, men and women have different needs, and when they’re unaware of their differences, men will try to meet the needs that they value and women will do the same.
They end up making each other unhappy and oftentimes end up seeking fulfillment outside of their marriages and having affairs.
This article contains 5 of the most important emotional needs for the average man and woman that I’ve learned from the book “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard F. Harley that will help you become a source of greatest pleasure for your spouse.
Ready? Let’s get started!
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Note that while every couple is different, the emotional needs presented below are for average men and women. It’s up to you to decide which needs are more important to you and to your spouse.
Everyone Has a Love Bank
Figuratively speaking, everyone has a love bank that contains different accounts for each person they know.
Pleasurable interactions with that person cause deposits into their accounts and negative interactions cause withdrawals.
Some acquaintances build large balances, while others have small balances.
For couples, they share both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Their respective bank accounts have both deposits and withdrawals.
So their happiness and unhappiness depend on which are more important, deposits or withdrawals.
– Lao Tzu
What Happens When Emotional Needs Aren’t Met?
Unmet emotional needs can result in feeling unwanted, alone, unfulfilled, along with other painful emotions.
If you feel unfulfilled in your relationship, chances are your emotional needs are not being met.
But unmet emotional needs don’t just affect you. They also affect the relationship and increase conflict.
To avoid that, you need to first determine what your and your partner’s emotional needs are and actively work on meeting them.
What Are The Emotional Needs Of A Man?
#1. Sexual fulfillment
Marriage is a conditional union.
When the husband doesn’t try to meet his wife’s need for affection, she doesn’t try to meet his need for sexual fulfillment.
Just like men find it hard to understand women’s need for affection, women also find it hard to understand men’s need for sexual fulfillment.
In fact, when it comes to sex, there are three important differences between men and women:
1. Sexual drive.
Because of their high level of testosterone, men have an intense sex drive compared to average women.
2. Sexual Awareness.
This conveys the understanding of one’s own sexual experience and how to respond sexually.
While almost all men masturbate at a very young age (as young as ten years old), women, on the other hand, start much later, and depending on the study, usually more than 50% of women never masturbated at all.
3. Sexual motivation.
While men might use sex to relieve cravings, the average woman usually uses sex to help her feel closer to her husband. For her, it’s all about intimacy and emotional bonding.
This is why, a woman who doesn’t get enough affection, would refuse to make love to her husband.
Becoming aware of the differences mentioned above is the first step to solve sexual problems. It’s important for both partners to understand the importance of meeting each other needs.
When the husband gives his wife the affection she’s craving, she becomes more willing to give him the sexual fulfillment he needs.
#2. Recreational Companionship
It’s not uncommon for women to join men in pursuing their interests when they’re dating.
They might attend sports events with them, go fishing with them, show interest in cars… after marriage, however, wives might try to interest their husbands in their own interest.
If they fail, they may encourage their husbands to continue their recreational activities without them, or with their friends. What most women fail to understand is that recreational activities are a crucial criterion for men in selecting their partner.
They assume that their wife will be their lifelong recreational companion.
So when a wife announces that she’s no longer interested in joining him in his favorite activity, it usually comes as a shock.
In fact, spending recreational time with his wife is ranked second only to sex for the typical man.
To satisfy his need for having you as a recreational companion, try to find mutual recreational interests.
Come up with a list of activities and rate them depending on how much you enjoy them.
Eventually, you’ll be able to settle on a few activities that you both enjoy most. The husband might have to let go of a certain activity he enjoyed.
But he’ll have to ask himself which is more important, the quality of your marriage or Monday nightFootball?
Looking for creative (and inexpensive) ideas of things to do together with your partner to deepen your connection and love?
“175 Best Date Ideas” is a $9 e-book that will help spark what you had when you first met.
#3. Physical Attractiveness
While not all men have a basic need for a good-looking wife, for some it’s crucial that the woman they marry meets this need so effectively.
So if a man marries a woman who is fit and takes care of the way she dresses and does her hair and makeup, he might feel less love for her when she gains lots of weight after marriage or stops putting on makeup every now and then.
Changes like having kids or getting old are not an excuse for gaining so much weight and dressing poorly.
When physical attractiveness is a basic emotional need for the man, he feels fulfilled when it’s met and his wife is taking care of herself. But when it’s not met, he feels frustrated.
#4. Domestic Support
Most men have a basic need for a home life that is free of stress and worry, where they can relax after a long day at work.
Even with the cultural shift of today and men taking more responsibility for the household chores, they still have a need for their wives to manage the home.
With the wife today being full-time employed, it became essential to share household chores.
In fact, her man’s need for a managed home has become her need too, she also wants to relax after a stressful day at work. However, while the woman would come back from work to prepare dinner, clean the house, do the laundry… she simply won’t relax until she had it all completed. The man, on the other hand, wouldn’t feel the need to do any household chores, at least not instinctively.
He might ignore the dishes, the laundry, the dirty floor, and simply watch TV and unwind.
This is why women need to consider the following when dividing household responsibilities:
– Identify the list of chores that needs to be completed. Let the man choose from the list, the chores that he wouldn’t mind doing. It’s important to let him choose, so he won’t feel forced into doing something he doesn’t want to do and do it with resentment.
– Even though the chores chosen by the man become his responsibility, show him appreciation when he completes them or help you with some of your responsibilities.
Honest admiration is a great motivator for most men.
When a woman expresses her honest admiration in her husband’s qualities, it inspires him to achieve more. It boosts his self-confidence but also grows his love for his wife.
However, instead of being his enthusiastic fan, a woman can become her husband’s worst critic.
This is not to say that a woman should never point out her husband’s mistakes.
Quite the opposite, only in pointing out his mistake that something can be done and the problem can be solved.
However, there’s a difference between complaining about something your husband had done or forgot to do and criticizing your husband and making disrespectful judgments.
A complaint is an expression of a problem that you would like to solve. For example, “I felt upset that you didn’t listen to me. It makes me feel you don’t care about me when you don’t listen.
Can you please listen and pay attention to me?” A criticism, on the other hand, attacks your spouse at an identity level like saying, “You never listen to me, you are so egoistic!”
While a complaint set the stage for discussion and negotiation, a criticism eliminates any chance of problem-solving, and would almost always to a fight.
Love needs constant nurture and care.
By discovering your most important emotional needs and meeting those needs, you’re more likely to build a marriage that sustains the feeling of love.
What Are The Emotional Needs Of A Woman?
Affection usually symbolizes security, comfort, and approval. To most women, these values are vital.
Through affection, a husband shows his wife how important she is to him and how much he cares about her and her well-being.
A hug can be a simple but effective way to display affection to a woman. A greeting card, a love note, flowers, opening the door for her, holding hands, phone calls… they all can effectively communicate affection and add units to the Love Bank.
Affection is so essential for a woman that without it, she usually feels alienated from her spouse.
While the man views affection as part of sexual foreplay, the woman finds affection important in its own right and would ask for it even when she doesn’t want to make love.
The best way to start giving your wife the affection she needs is to ask her to help him learn to express his affection in ways she will appreciate. The wife can identify two lists of affectionate habits “Affectionate Habits to Create” and “Affectionate Habits to Avoid”.
A woman who is allergic to flowers wouldn’t want her husband to give her flowers so this should go into the list of affectionate habits to avoid.
#2. Intimate Conversation
While men use conversation as a means to an end, women, on the other hand, enjoy conversation for its own sake.
At the beginning of the relationship, the man is eager to know his woman, so he engages with her in long conversations.
After marriage, however, most men stop having a conversation with their wives. They don’t see any purpose in continuing to have the long conversations they had while dating.
What they fail to understand is that intimate conversations are what triggered their wives’ love for them.
By removing these intimate conversations, they risk losing their wives’ love for them.
Intimate conversation is perceived by women as an expression of love and care.
At least 15 hours a week should be spent together. During that time partners need to give each other undivided attention and spend most of that time engaging in intimate conversations.
#3. Honesty and Openness
Honesty and open communication trigger in women a sense of security.
The more a woman can trust her husband to be open to share his feelings and thoughts with her, the more secure she feels. On the other hand, without honesty and openness, negotiation can’t take place and the couple can resolve or decide very little.
The more you know about each other, the more you’ll understand each other and come up with solutions to your problems.
#4. Financial Support
Women do marry a man for his money, she wants him to earn at least enough to be able to support himself.
In fact, even though today women outnumber men in many careers, their need for financial support didn’t change with the cultural shift. Most wives want a choice between following a career and being a homemaker, or even the combination of both.
But they don’t want to be forced to work in order to support their families.
The reality today might dictate that women must work in order to help make ends meet.
An alternative way to do that, while giving the choice for the woman to work or to stay at home or to work part-time, is to lower an unrealistic standard of living.
By downsizing the house and the car and using a budget, many couples were able to live off one income and even save money for investment.
#5. Family Commitment
The vast majority of women have a powerful instinct to create a family.
They also have a need for their husband to take a leadership role in their family and commit himself to the educational development of their own children.
A woman who doesn’t find the family commitment in her man can become too frustrated trying to change and encourage him to take more role in raising their children.
In fact, children need to have quality time with their parents in order to grow up well nurtured and balanced emotionally.
For that, you need to increase your family time by having your meals together, playing games together, going out for walks… Parenting also takes a lot of training.
No one is born knowing how to raise a child.
Read as many books as you can on parenting, take classes, and even participate in workshops in order to learn more about parenting.
It’s worth investing your time and money.
What Makes A Couple’s Relationship Healthy?
A healthy couple’s relationship is the building block of a healthy family.
Intimacy can be both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. We may say we don’t need relationships, but we go ahead and seek them anyway.
The following are essential elements in every healthy couple’s relationship:
Commitment is the intention to remain constant in belief and action to a single person, regardless of difficulties you may face.
While love can deepen the relationship, it isn’t enough to maintain the relationship, especially during tough times.
Commitment is more than a marriage certificate or a verbal promise. Commitment is about having every intention of persevering the relationship while taking it “one day at a time.”
Your partner must make this vow as well.
Commitment creates a safe environment for you and your partner to be real, open, and honest with each other.
Dependence means “I can’t function without you.” Independence means “I don’t need you at all.”
Interdependence is some of both dependence and independence.
Interdependence creates an environment where each partner feels safe and supported. You are there for each other, but do not assume the problems, opinions, or feelings of the other.
3. Emotional Intimacy
In a committed relationship and being self-aware, you are able to safely take emotional risk and trust your partner with vulnerabilities that others will never know.
Becoming emotionally intimate with someone is a process that takes time and attention. It also involves both partners doing the following:
- Setting aside regular time to spend together.
- Sharing secrets and history, be it painful or humorous.
- Having spontaneous nonsexual contact), including eye contact, hugging, and flirting.
- Supporting each other’s interests and dreams.
An effective communication can solve most conflicts in a relationship.
Daily opportunities for sharing feelings about each other, responsibilities, and dreams are needed for emotional intimacy and to prevent the buildup of resentments and pain from misunderstandings.
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Portions of this article were adapted from the book: His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Jr. Harley