“They’re getting a divorce.” There is was – I’d heard it again – and this time in reference to a couple we not only know, but that had been married for over 20 years, that my wife and I had shared an enjoyable evening out with – and not too long ago.
What the crap??
Every time I hear this type of news – and it seems to be more and more often – I get sad. AND I get busy – busy evaluating all the ways I can think of to try and make sure it doesn’t happen to my wife and I. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not scared – I’m just not stupid.
We all know it; marriage is difficult – especially when you add in kids affected by autism.
Truth be told – even when you add in typical kids. Then you add in financial stress, mother-in-laws, neighbors, friends – that’s right, I said it – friends, extended family – well, you get the idea. It’s just not easy. They stress you, they aggravate you, they don’t listen, they do REALLY dumb things – WE do really dumb things. It seems as if the whole world conspires against two people who’d like to keep love alive.
But if you do some research you can find all kinds of people interested in helping you stay together – and all kinds of information that is helpful – some more than others.
But awhile back I found something really cool. Let me set the stage for you here:
Tony Robbins (you know, the motivational speaker guy) teaches that there are 6 basic human needs. They are:
- CERTAINTY – This is the need for security, comfort and consistency.
- VARIETY – this is the need for change and unique experiences.
- SIGNIFICANCE – The need to feel important, needed, wanted and worthy of love.
- LOVE and CONNECTION – The need for feeling connected with and loved by other human beings.
- GROWTH – The need for constant development emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
- CONTRIBUTION – Giving beyond ourselves to help others.
You can agree or disagree here but most – if not all – desires can be fit in to at least one of these needs.
So who cares? What does this mean to YOUR relationship?
Dad-Gum Plenty! (Sorry about the foul language there – but I want to keep your attention.)
If you can meet the needs of your spouse at a high level in even just a few of these categories, your relationship can flourish.
So here’s what we do. We do a relationship ranker.
And no, that doesn’t mean is your relationship “ranker” than the next (as in, smelly) – it’s just an analysis to give you are staring point. There’s a form you can use for this if you want to download it. Click Here
On a scale of 1 to 10, rank how your needs have been met by your spouse – remember the needs:
- LOVE and CONNECTION
- CONTRIBUTION – and be honest, no cheating.
Now, on a scale of 1 to 10, rank how you have met your spouse’s needs – remember the needs:
- LOVE and CONNECTION
If they’re all low numbers – it’s OK. We’re going to get to work fixing that later.
Next – and this may be a bit tough, but do it honestly and you can use this information for good later – become your spouse – Get in THEIR head – NOW rate what THEY would say, from their perspective.
On a scale of 1 to 10, rank how your needs have been met by your spouse – Remember, you are now THEM. The needs again are: CERTAINTY – VARIETY – SIGNIFICANCE – LOVE and CONNECTION – GROWTH – CONTRIBUTION.
Then – Rank how your needs are met by other activities on a scale of 1 to 10. Again: CERTAINTY – VARIETY – SIGNIFICANCE – LOVE and CONNECTION – GROWTH – CONTRIBUTION.
So this may seem a bit abstract, so let’s say (as a for instance) that you are a member of a Fantasy Football League. You probably get some CONNECTION (maybe a 7) from the other players, some VARIETY (maybe a 6) from weekly results, some SIGNIFICANCE (maybe a 3 if you’re losing, and an 8 if you’re winning your league) – can you see how this works?
Or maybe you’re in a book club. CERTAINTY (7 – all your friends are there every week) VARIETY (5 – different views and opinions on the same subject – and the book is interesting) LOVE and CONNECTION (8 – all your long-time friends are there) – you get the idea.
So now that we’ve “HONESTLY” ranked our relationships, and looked at how other activities rank in comparison, it can become a lot easier to raise our level of performance so that we meet our spouses needs at a higher level.
Now, think about that for a minute.
What if YOU could provide a higher ranking for each of your spouse’s 6 basic human needs?
What if YOU could do things that would raise the level at which you meet all your spouse’s needs? Think that would improve your relationship?
Let’s imagine for a moment that you DO start to improve your relationship with your spouse by meeting their needs at a higher level?
Do you think if you were meeting their basic human needs at a higher level, YOU might be what they’re drawn to more and they may decide to reciprocate? Let me share with you the answer.
The answer is… YES!
The bottom line is this.
There’s never a better time to improve your relationship than NOW.
Don’t be blind enough to think it CAN’T happen to you or that just because things are going okay this minute that you don’t have to pay attention.
Don’t let problems “sneak-up” on you – like they did on my friends.
And then (take plenty of time to) make a plan for meeting your spouse’s needs at the highest level you can.
Do what you can today, to ensure you don’t become my next friend to contact me and say, “It’s over – and I’m not sure what went wrong.”
The truth is – I can’t take it anymore.