Husbands and wives are generally unaware that they have different or differing emotional needs. Therefore, instinct is not much of a help when it comes to meeting each other’s needs. Husbands and wives give to the other what he or she wants for themselves; thus ending up discontented and resentful. At times, both husbands and wives feel their love is unacknowledged and unappreciated. One is giving but the spouse is not receiving. This can be very frustrating indeed.
A wife thinks she is being very loving when she asks a lot of caring questions and expresses concern. This can be very annoying to the husband especially when he is tired or is in his “cave” – men like these short periods of time when they are alone and recharge their emotional energy. Social scientists call this the “cave” mentality. The husband feels that the wife is trying to “control” him. This leaves the wife a bit confused, because if the husband asked her such questions she would simply love it. In fact, she longs for it and hopes that her husband will reciprocate in the same manner.
In the same way, husbands think they are being very loving, but their expression of love can leave their wives feeling insecure. When a wife gets upset generally the husband says something like “Don’t worry, it will be okay” or he ignores her and assumes he is giving her the opportunity to go into her cave. What a husband thinks is support makes his wife feel unloved and ignored. When a wife is upset she needs to be heard and understood. The husband loves being left alone in his cave and so thinks this really helps his wife just like it does for him.
Without these insights into differing needs both the husband and the wife do not understand why their attempts to help each other are unsuccessful. This leaves both of them frustrated and emotionally drained.
Close relationships need high volumes of emotional energy in addition to the required physical energy. Emotional needs can be summed up as the need for love. Husbands and wives have 12 emotional or love needs; of these six are primary needs and these primary needs are different for husbands and wives.
Husbands become fully receptive to and appreciative of the six kinds of emotional needs required by wives when his primary emotional needs are first fulfilled. Similarly wives need their primary emotional needs fulfilled before they can become fully appreciative of the primary needs of their husbands.
Every person ultimately needs all twelve kinds of emotional needs ; it is just that the order of priority is different. Understanding the primary emotional needs of our spouse is the powerful secret for improving relationships in marriage – the true Marriage Mantra.
The most significant and practical aspect of this new understanding of emotional need is that these different kinds of emotional needs are reciprocal. When a husband expresses his care and understanding, his wife automatically begins to reciprocate and return to him the trust and acceptance he primarily needs. In the same way, when a wife expresses her trust, her husband automatically will begin to reciprocate with the caring and understanding she needs.
“In giving you shall receive” is a mantra that seems to be counter-cultural in our times but in the closest and the most sacred relationship between a husband and wife, this is a proven and time-tested mantra that works – when the giving is selfless and motivated because of what one has received; and when the giving happens consistently every day.
A commitment to give to our spouse unconditionally just because we love them can make all the difference in our relationship as husbands and wives.
True love will compel you to give – to give sacrificially, give unconditionally, and give without any ulterior motives. One can give without loving but we cannot truly love without giving.
Published in the September 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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