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  • Bretta Durham

Repairing Relationships-Understanding Emotional Needs

We readily understand physical needs. The idea that we have essential needs; food, water, shelter, and even air to breath are things we can more or less recognize over a lifetime.

What we may not realize is that core emotional needs are truly what help us to “feel” happy in relationships and even in our own personal life.

This is a favorite exercise from the course “Loving Others”. Not because this exercise is easy for people to work through, in fact, it can be the exact opposite especially for people who are struggling to feel happy.

The purpose of the exercise is to allow individuals and couples to identify/recognize the existence of core emotional needs and analyze to what extent they are currently met or not met in their life through relationships.

Because core emotional needs are related to how happy we feel, unmet needs can continue to impact us both personally and relationally. As core needs are identified, hope of restored or renewed feelings of happiness can be more readily worked toward.

A mistake we sometimes make, in regards to our emotional core needs, is when we search for ways to fill these needs with “new”. The continued search for new to find contentment is not always necessary especially in regards to relationships.

Repetitive discussions and acknowledgement of core needs is a much more tangible way to begin to “feel” better both personally and relationally.

Core needs often need to be recognized many times before they can in essence be “met”, “fulfilled”, and/or “reconciled”.

Relationships do not have to be perfect. To have an expectation that any one person can make us feel “happy” all the time is an unrealistic expectation. Also one person should not be expected to meet every one of our emotional needs. Spouses, significant others, friends, and family, together, can be and are a part of the support that helps us to have our personal core needs met.

“Happy” and “unhappy” feelings can and do change. Relationships that are “good” can become better as we acknowledge emotional core needs, both met and unmet.

The value of a relationship that is established in love, maintained through support, and repaired through active reconciliation is a relationship that can help meet our core emotional needs long-term.

If you are looking for a gift that helps couples to invest long term for you or someone else, the self-guided course book Loving Others is available. Opening and reopening communication, evaluating priorities, learning how to love one another better, establishing or reestablishing who you are as a couple, and planning toward the future together is another way we learn better how to connect and stay connected.

To learn more visit the website You can also purchase the book Love Forever and the self-guided course books Loving Others, Loving Yourself, and Reconciling Through love


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