You Need What??

Melinda Walsh

My Sweetheart and I have different needs. Shocker. We are probably the first couple ever to have that dynamic!

When something is important to someone else but not important to you, it can be really easy to downplay it, dismiss it, judge them for being silly or dumb, or whatever. Consistently ignoring the needs of your partner is a terrific way to create resentments that can grow large and mean over time.

I was really good at that in my prior relationships. I usually made an attempt to make my needs known but if they were ignored, or dismissed, I started devising ways to justify ignoring or dismissing the needs of my partner. Usually this was accompanied by me needing to make me right and them wrong for thinking the way they did. After all, wasn’t that what they were doing to me?

It worked perfectly. We ended our relationship, full of anger and resentment and the feeling that the other person never ‘got me’. I couldn’t see at the time that we were both doing the exact same thing: dismissing the needs of the other and justifying doing so.

As my Sweetheart and I were forming our relationship, we decided to do something different. We each choose to make the needs of the other equal to our own. For example, he has a need to be acknowledged for the things he does for me. It’s kind of easy to do that, actually, he brings flowers and cards to me without prompting, and nothing in the house ever has a chance to break because he is always on top of it. However, I know that as time goes on, it’s really easy to take these things for granted, so I tell him as often as I think about it how much I appreciate what he does for me. My need to feel cared for is fed by him. His need to be acknowledged is fed by me. “You’re amazing!” I say. “I know”, he replies.

It doesn’t take too long in a relationship to learn what your partner’s needs are. One of you will always have a need for more reassurance, more sex, more affection, more time together, and on and on. By both of you making the other’s needs as much of a priority as you do your own, a beautiful thing happens: you begin to feel loved and cared for, and the ‘fight’ to get your needs met will lose it’s hold over you.

When that happens, a beautiful space of intimacy and connection opens up and Love can flourish. And that’s Love Applied 🙂



  1. Really nice Melinda. And all true. Your relationship sounds wonderful….and it’s evident that you both work at it. I think when both people in the relationship make the effort, the rewards can be amazing!

    • Thanks, Lisa, I couldn’t agree more. It does take effort and conscious awareness but it’s ‘work’ that can be enjoyable when you see the rewards:-)

  2. Beautifully stated.

  3. Nancy McFarland says:

    Wow. Y’all are ahead of the curve. We’ve unconsciously started doing the same thing in the last year, and you’re right: romance is fuller and more gratifying when you acknowledge the big AND little efforts made (and it only took 8 years!). 10 ears in March!

    • 10 years! That’s awesome, Nancy:-) So happy for y’all:-)

      I know, sometimes I think saying ‘thanks’ for taking out the trash might be the most important move of all!

  4. This is lovely – and really good advice. Congratulations on making it a decade.

  5. So I’m reading this, and saying to myself how true this is. Then I start to wonder whether this is something that can be taught, or is this higher level of love something we acquire as we mature, or something we are shown or not shown early in life that sets a foundation for being the kind of person who wanting for our partner’s happiness as much as we want our own. How do you think you got to the place in your life where you were able to love this way?

    • I think it was a combination of awarenesses, Tamyra. I started realizing the trap of justifying withholding something my partner wanted; was willing to risk the vulnerability to be the first to give; realized that perhaps the best way to get my own needs met was to do my best to meet his. Or perhaps I just grew up:-)

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