Love is a Need But Not the Only One
Love is a Need
But Not the Only One
Learn the Secret to Happy Relationship
All we need is Love,
Love is all we need. Right?
I’m a hardcore Beatles fan. Lennon forever. And though my hippie values were hand-me-downs from my baby boomer older brother, I claim them as my own. However, seventeen years of counseling couples, my own experiences in marriage, divorce, and numerous long-term relationships, as well as witnessing friends, community, and society at large, have taught me that we do, in fact, need more than Love.
For what do we need more than Love? For healthy, functioning, sustainably-fulfilling intimate relationships. In our culture, we are not taught how to attain this. We are not given the most important, effective skills that actually help build and maintain intimate partnerships.
On the whole, we are relationship-injured, as a society, as a species. Most people are lost, making the same errors repeatedly in chronic patterns of frustration and lack of fulfillment.
Relationship advice found in the mainstream has improved dramatically in recent times. Yet, I still see a lack of the crucial piece that makes or breaks how much actual value people receive from good advice in their day to day lives.
The problem is that even good information leaves humans responsible for figuring out how to implement the suggestions on their own in the privacy of their homes. We make messy mistakes the moment our emotions rear their heads. What’s missing is an immediately-usable, one-size-fits-all how-to guide that actually works. A step-by-step roadmap, instructions, directions, a script that reliably gets results.
It actually exists, this universal script.
The most important life lessons are simple, yet profound. The fear-based, reactive, ego mind says, “If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it“ That very thought, which is rampant and largely unconscious, blocks us from implementing simple yet profound truths and tools in our daily lives, tools that are game-changers in relationship. We need relationship instructions seriously broken down, chunked into digestible, bite-sized words. We often muck it up on the first try after reading an article or even after a good couple’s therapy session.
What exactly is it that we muck up? Our attempts to get our needs met in relationship. We even muck up our attempts—bless us for trying—to meet the needs of our partner. It’s the drive to meet needs that is underneath all human behavior and certainly what’s underneath all conflict between partners.
We all do whatever we can in order to survive – to get our needs met – in any moment of our lives. It’s instinct. If we can see this, accept it, and work with it as an ally, we can successfully implement effective tools designed to satisfy this driving force, thereby maintaining happiness and harmony between ourselves and our partners.
We can use negotiations, transactions—not tit-for-tat trades but bids and requests, offers and follow-through to achieve fun, romance, fulfillment and true love in our partnerships.
Later in this article, I will give you an exercise to try at home, complete with script lines to follow. You can test the universality of the tool for yourself.
First, a discussion of what exactly these needs are that drive our human behavior in relationship.
Six Basic Human Needs
4) Love & Connection
These Basic Human Needs are the why of what we do. When we learn to identify and work consciously with them in our relationships, as Tony Robbins, master trainer, teaches, all the confusing pain vanishes and we have a relationship roadmap that brings peace, fulfillment and deep intimacy to ourselves and our partners.
I don’t imagine anyone would argue with this list to any great degree. It’s not up for debate that we all have the need for Certainty (feeling safe and comfortable), Variety (change, shifts, newness, movement), Significance (feeling special, needed, worthy of attention), Love and Connection (we all need Love but many of us will settle for Connection), Growth (expansion, discovery), and Contribution (to give to something beyond ourselves).
For those who have given good thought to the concept of human needs motivating behavior and to their effect on relationships, I’d risk saying that the contemplation probably has remained just that —contemplation—mostly in the realm of the theoretical vs. practical.
To go from theory to practice involves actually doing things differently at home, in privacy, often with some discomfort at first due to newness. There’s a period of adjustment, then incorporation of a new habit. Learning to have better relationships is a process that requires engagement of more than the mind, though mindset is crucial.
Evidence-based techniques for practical application are the only thing worth doing. Proven methods for creating real change, achieving actual results in the form of both partners reporting more closeness, more loving connection, more satisfaction are essential.
I want people to actually change their lives and relationships in ways they desire, to be able to state that the work made things better, that they still are better, and that they continue to use the tools together that keep things better.
What’s the best way to move forward with this information about Basic Human Needs?
Learn about your partner‘s unmet needs in the relationship and start meeting them. You might get surprised when you make this the lens through which you see your whole relationship. Tony’s teaching is fiercely clear when he says that the number one most powerful, positive and effective thing you can do in your relationship is to make your number one priority meeting your partner’s needs. Most people are usually thinking about getting their own needs met in relationship. If we’re honest, that includes ourself.
A caveat: There are cases in which a person should definitely not put the other person’s needs and desires before theirs. Namely, when it is not safe—emotionally, mentally, or physically. These are either cases of toxic relationship, where the person seeking help would benefit from considering leaving, or getting better at protecting themselves from pain and/or danger, or there is a safe partner, but self-esteem work is being done by the person seeking help who needs to practice putting their own needs first, as it is so foreign to them to do so.
In cases without emotional or physical abuse or neglect, violence, mental illness or addiction, where one or both partners are safe enough to do this work without retribution or shame, it is not only effective, but earth-shatteringly revolutionary to relationships to make this paradigm shift intentionally and to follow through on it, regularly and consistently, with action.
What is the best way to follow through on this shift to focusing on meeting your partner’s needs? How do we get from the theoretical to the practical?
The universal script I spoke of earlier focuses on one thing: asking a partner if you may help them meet a need of theirs. That’s the key. Simple If you are like most people, sometimes it will be easy, sometimes it will be hard.
Asking to Help Meet Your Partner’s Needs – Universal Script
1) You: “Knock-knock. Are you available to speak about meeting a need of yours?”
Your Partner: “Yes.”
2) You: “Thank you. I would like to help you meet your needs. Can you tell me what need you have that is not being met?”
Your Partner: (Their need)
You: “Would you be willing to tell me something I can do to meet that need?”
(or, “May I suggest something I can do to help meet that Need?”)
Your Partner: “Yes. My request is that you .”
(or, “Yes, I would like you to do that. Thank you.”)
Speaking this way with a partner can radically shift the energy, tone, and real life impact in our relationships at home and in the world.
An important distinction: For relationships based on an agreement to co-create a healthy bond, this material is great for discussion and relationship work.
For a more unilateral approach to feeling happier (have more of your needs met by meeting more of your partner’s needs) in a relationship, you will be using what I affectionately call the Stealth Mission. For the Stealth Mission, you still do the above, but change the words. You don’t want to be so obvious that you are doing something different. Please contact me if you are interested in hearing more about how to do this work unilaterally.
Even though I say this is simple, there is much discovery to be made about the ins and outs, the things that come up when the tool is put into action. An article cannot take the place of a coach. Change happens in the moment when we are confronted with an opportunity to do something differently. Those are the teachable moments, vibrant with the stuff of real transformation.
My practice specializes in coaching people to implement and incorporate scripts such as this and other Evidence-Based relational and self-management tools. The results? More happiness and peace.
Since 2001, Yaj (also known as Amy Jay) has been in private practice seeing couples and individuals in New York. Now located in Arcata, CA, she has a Master of Science in Family Systems Counseling, is certified in Imago Relationships, trained by John Gottman, and is a Non-Violent Communication (NVC) Practitioner. Her work is centered on training people to use reliable tools for having authentic life and love. Please visit Yaj at www.HeartMindPartners.com.
Every Other Wednesday Evening May 9th & 23rd June 6th & 20th
Relationships & Communication - a new bi-weekly learning gathering run by a relationship specialist in the field for 20 years. Join us for an evening dedicated to teaching reliable tools that repair negativity in interactions and deepen connection between people. Many of us have heard relationship advice before, but it’s not always evidence-based. Yaj teaches proven tools that work, otherwise known as “best practice.” Come listen, get your questions answered and practice in a safe space. This work is designed for couples and other intimate relationships, but can be applied to any situation that requires better communication. Adults and mature young adults welcome - couples, individuals, family members, friends, colleagues. $15/person, $25/couple. Drop-in or register in advance. This group will be offered on alternate Wednesdays (starting May 9, 23, June 6, 20). Isis Osiris Healing Temple, 7-8:30pm. Contact Yaj for questions/registration: (845) 641-8843, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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