Do you know the difference between wants and needs?
So you are in a relationship and it just doesn’t seem to be working? Are you in between relationships and afraid you won’t be able to find someone who can meet your needs? Often, the trouble in our relationships stems from not understanding the fundamental differences between wants and needs. Do you know the difference?
If I were to ask you what you need in a relationship in order to thrive, what would you say? Are you sure that you are not confusing needs with wants? Sometimes children will attempt to convince a parent that they NEED the newest game system, when in reality they only want it. Strong desire doesn’t equate to a need.
What is a Need?
I recently read a story of a family that was stranded on a forest road in their vehicle in the middle of winter. They were stuck there for nearly a week with only what they had in the vehicle with them. Thankfully the family survived, due in a large part to the husband’s ability to distinguish between their wants and needs.
This man quickly identified that what his family needed most was to be kept together and kept warm. He immediately started a fire using the vehicles spare tire, and kept it burning using the non-essential articles in the vehicle. He rationed what little food they had, and melted snow to provide water. He saved his family by focusing on needs.
Imagine if he had tried to focus on providing a steak dinner. While that might have been nice, it was not a need. Lots of things, like cable television, new shoes, a flat screen TV or a new pair of jet skis, while nice to have were not necessities for survival.
The same is true for relationships. While of course we want to do more than simply survive a relationship, we can also get lost in the weeds if we focus more on what we want, rather than what we need for a successful relationship. Identify those needs, and then focus on them first. What Does Your Relationship Need?
What Does Your Relationship Need?
I am not sure there is a simple answer to this question, as each relationship may need things that are slightly different than others. However, there are several things that all relationships need in order to strengthen existing relationships and lead you to choosing better relationship if you are dating. Ironically, they are the same things needed by that family stranded in their car.
No relationship can long survive where the two parties are living completely separate lives. You need a partner in life to walk along with you. Getting separated is the worst thing that can happen. Find your love, and stick with them.
Yep, you need love. Love is the fire that keeps relationships strong. Not the superficial, focused on external beauty kind of love; but the kind that goes all the way to the bones. The kind of love that keeps you warm when the world is cold. That is the kind of love you need. It is nice to enjoy some superficial love, and we often want someone to focus on our physical attributes, but what we need is someone who also loves us for what we are, now just how we look.
You need nutrition to help a body survive, and relationships are the same. Every relationship needs a steady infusion of nutrition in order to survive through the years. This nutrition can come through various avenues, but some of them are:
– Regular date nights.
– Good communication
– Mentoring, coaching or counseling
Does That Mean I Don’t Get My Wants?
No, you may very well get your wants met as well as your needs. The point is that if you focus on your wants, and elevate them to the level of needs, you are bound to be disappointed. Remember, whenever we get a want, then that is a bonus. Wants are the icing on the cake. Needs are what keep us going in the long term.
If there is something in your relationship that you feel you are not getting, take a moment and ask yourself whether it is really on the level of a need. If not, then you can afford to wait for it. Don’t throw away a solid relationship because of a want. We will never get all of our wants met, but if we can get our needs met, we can live healthy, meaningful lives with the people we love.
What do you think? Do you think that it is possible to separate needs from wants? Have you ever seen a relationship destroyed for lack of wants? Are getting our needs met enough to keep a relationship healthy? I would love to hear from you on this. Let me know your thoughts, and how you separate needs from wants in your relationships.