Five Ways to Have Your Needs Met in Marriage
No one wants to stay in a marriage where their needs aren’t met. In fact, according to an article on MarriageSavers.com, “Astonishingly, there seems to be a much higher risk of divorce in marriages where spouses are not meeting each other’s emotional needs than there is in all the marriages that suffer from physical and verbal abuse, chemical dependency, unemployment, and all other causes combined.”
What happens when you have a need you feel or know isn’t met by your spouse?
Sooner or later, people make sure their needs get met one way or the other, either inside or outside the marriage.
If your needs aren’t met, chances are you’re not meeting your spouse’s needs either. If you’re in that situation, it’s time to become graciously, lovingly assertive if you have any chance at righting the ship.
Here are five ways to become more assertive in a spirit that invites mutual collaboration. The last thing you want to do is become demanding and declare ultimatums.
1. Act with Humble Self-Confidence (even if you don’t feel confident at all):
Believe and accept that you’re worthy of having your needs met by your spouse. Looking in the mirror while saying affirmations is a great way to build confidence and advocate for yourself and your needs. Surround yourself with people who affirm your value and encourage you; this builds self-confidence.
2. Be Clear
Clearly, but lovingly communicate your needs. You deserve to have your deepest needs met and thoroughly satisfied within your marriage. You don’t deserve to be neglected, rejected, or treated with indifference. You’re a priority, not an option.
Nor do you deserve to be minimized, diminished, discounted, controlled, shamed, or belittled.
Once you’ve identified your needs and any that aren’t being met, it’s time for a heart-to-heart conversation with your spouse, seeking healing and restoration. Perhaps you’ve not been meeting certain of their needs. So you might begin with how you feel you both have needs that aren’t being met. Make sure your message is clear, understood, and received. Your spouse might not accept your assessment, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t understand and acknowledge your concerns.
3. Share Expectations and Boundaries
Share how there are certain needs that you expect to be met only within the bonds of marriage, such as emotional and physical intimacy. Boundaries and expectations are important in being assertive and standing up for yourself.
If emotional and physical intimacy is lacking, find a counselor to work through your issues. The human need for emotional and physical intimacy will not go unmet; spouses find ways to meet these essential needs – needs both partners promised to meet the day they were married.
4. Communicate Clearly and Graciously
For instance, instead of accusing your partner, “You don’t give me…,” it would be far more effective to say, “I need to feel more emotionally connected to you,” or “I need more touch and physical affection,” etc. By stating your need clearly but kindly, there’s a greater likelihood that what you’re sharing will be received, respected, and acted upon because of the spirit it’s being shared.
5. Be Bold and Consistent
Be bold. Don’t drop the issue. Persist. If your needs don’t seem to matter to you, they won’t matter to anyone else. Be confident that what you’re asking for is reasonable and necessary.
Boldness also helps you to hold others accountable when it comes to getting your needs met. When you mean business, you have no problems following up with your spouse and engaging them on this issue.
Your needs are important. Their needs are important, too; this isn’t a selfish, one-sided street. If you’re not trying to meet their needs, why should you expect them to meet yours?
The best thing to do when you feel that your needs aren’t being met by your spouse is to confront the situation early on. Don’t wait, expecting things will get better. They won’t. If you’re not meeting your spouse’s needs, something or someone else will, and vice-versa. Be bold, diplomatic, and loving. But confront the issue.
For some people, being kindly assertive comes naturally. Others have to learn it through uncomfortable action. Either way, remember, you are worth the investment, and your needs matter. And you have the right to have your needs met within the sacred bonds of marriage.