Relationships make a container within the two (or more) can relax and be themselves. Certain things have to be present in that container for you to be your best self, be open, expansive, feel loved, and to return love to your greatest capacity. Requirements create the container. These are the things that must be present for you to feel at home. Things like safety, playfulness, honesty, fidelity, positivity can all be requirements for you in a long-term relationship.
The test for a requirement is that the relationship will not work for you if it is missing. These are deal breakers. Short-term relationships will have different requirements than long-term relationships. Requirements tend to be non-negotiable, the absence of even one often results in a failed relationship.
Requirements usually have the following characteristics:
- They are non-negotiable. The relationship will not work for you if it is missing.
- They tend to be black or white, met or not met. There is usually not much room for gray.
- Important: Requirements are behavioral events in the relationship; they are not traits of your partner.
Everyone has needs in a relationship. Unlike requirements, which are about the relationship, needs are about you. An unmet need will result in an “issue” between you and another. If the issue is addressed and met successfully the relationship will be successful and rewarding. The primary reason for conflict in relationship is a lack of effective methods for resolving the issues that arise from unmet needs. Needs can be negotiated with many possible solutions.
Needs fall into two categories:
- Functional Needs – the routine events that must occur for your life to work in a manner that fits your Vision, i.e. organization, cleanliness, financial stability.
- Emotional Needs – are events that must happen in your relationship for you to feel loved. I.e. The need for touch, remembered birthdays, a phone call when your partner will be late.
Wants are the icing on the cake. They provide pleasure and enjoyment. They are changeable and can become satiated. One want can be substituted for another want, which is not the case with needs. A missing want is solvable. A missing requirement is unsolvable and often results in a failed relationship.