Everyone has emotional needs. When these needs are fulfilled you feel a special love and connection. Emotional needs represent the middle tier of the 3 sets of personal needs: love, emotional, and human. These 3 sets of needs make up your 13 Personal Needs. When your partner meets most of your needs, a strong bond and romance develop. These emotional needs focus more in terms of love and romance.

Let’s face it, when we feel romantic love from our partner, we don’t think about divorce.

Dr. Willard Harley, Jr.

In his book “His Needs, Her Needs,” Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. thoroughly examines the 10 emotional needs. This landmark work has had a profound impact on millions of marriages worldwide. To put it simply, his many years of research reveals that feelings of romance and love are learned association based on triggered responses.

What does that mean?

In a lab experiment, it might be demonstrated by giving a person a violent shock when showing them a picture of a city, and giving them a comforting massage when showing them a picture of mountains. After enough reiterations of this experiment, the subject would get uneasy when seeing pictures of a city, but relaxed and happy when seeing mountains.

How does this relate to your marriage? It’s simple.

When your emotional needs are met by a particular person, you draw closer to that person. When that person continues to meet your emotional needs, you can develop feelings of love and romance. That person, your partner, is triggering a learned response within you of love.

The opposite is also true.

When your partner stops meeting your needs in a way that hurts you, you develop a learned response to pain when you see your partner.

Many couples develop feelings of love and romance when they date. You and your partner probably did many activities together, talked, and shared intimate conversations.

The good feelings were imprinted on each of you as love. You got married. It was good for a while. However, somehow things changed. Life got in the way of your romance. Work took each of you away from the other. Children created massive change in your time together and finances. Each of you changed a little as you matured and grew older. Your human, emotional, and love needs may have also changed. Now, however, there may be little romance and a lot more anger and frustration.

The solution is surprisingly simple:

You each need to identify your emotional needs, and re-commit to providing each other with these needs. When each of you start to provide each other with the needs each requires to feel love, on a continuous basis, the feelings of anger and frustration will be replaced with love and romance. When you see your partner, you will once again be filled with joy and love.

The Love Bank

You may be asking why these emotional needs are so important. Several of the marriage experts I admire refers to a concept Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. calls the Love Bank. Dr. Gottman calls a similar concept the Love Map. Dr. Gary Chapman calls it the Love Tank. Dr. John Gray and Mark Gungor refer to the concept in all of their works.

Quite simply, the Love Bank refers to the deposits and withdrawals of love units for all the interactions we have with other people.

When someone does something that makes you feel appreciated, love units are deposited into your love bank. When someone does something that leaves you feeling anxious or angry, love units are withdrawn. The units are not exact mathematical units, but rather, relative units to how you feel.

When you first started to date your spouse, the dates that left you happy were the result of love units being deposited into your love bank. The more your partner did that helped you feel love, appreciation, admiration, respect, and so on, all were the result of love unit deposits. When your partner forgot a date, said something inconsiderate or left you feeling insecure, love unit withdrawals are made.

Love unit deposits and withdrawals are directly represented by the degree your partner meets your emotional needs.

When your partner meets your emotional needs, you feel love and romance. The love bank has a large positive balance. When your partner fails to meet your emotional needs, you feel insecure, frustrated, angry, and neglected. The love bank has large withdrawals and may even leave the balance in the negative.

When the love bank runs low or in the negative, we tend to look for ways to bring it back into the positive. It makes us feel better. We tend to pay more attention to those who leave us happy and with joy. This is how affairs begin. This is when we start to have emotions towards friends and coworkers who otherwise would not have registered on our radar.

When we are not having our emotional needs met at home,
we look in other places,
with other people.

We do anything we can to get our love, emotional, and human needs met.

You can affair-proof your marriage by making sure you meet the emotional needs of your spouse, and your spouse meeting your emotional needs. You can increase the love bank deposits to where it has an abundant positive value. To do this, you need to understand the emotional needs, and how to fulfill those needs within yourself and your spouse.

The 10 Emotional Needs

There are 10 emotional needs. Some are stereotypically associated with women, and some are stereotypically associated with men.

Today, that concept triggers some folks. As I describe these emotional needs and who usually has that need, I ask that you understand it is based on science. Not social theory. Not feelings. Studies and science. 

It doesn’t matter which ones you associate with. What does matter is that you identify with the ones that help you feel a special sense of love. As I discuss each one, I will refer to the sex that typically identifies with that need. Use this just as a reference, not an absolute.

10 Emotional Needs

As you read about these 10 emotional needs, please be aware that at the end of this article, I will provide an exercise where you will select your top 5 emotional needs. Dr. Harley, Jr. has found that the top five emotional needs are the most important. Continuing to rank the remaining 5 do little to help a marriage.

Let’s get started.

The 10 emotional needs are:

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Sexual Fulfillment
  3. 3
    Intimate Conversation
  4. 4
    Recreational Companionship
  5. 5
    Honesty and Openness
  6. 6
    Physical Attraction
  7. 7
    Financial Support
  8. 8
    Domestic Support
  9. 9
    Family Commitment
  10. 10


Affection is the expression of caring. When you are shown affection by your partner, you feel that your partner cares about you. You feel secure. You feel comforted.

From “His Needs, Her Needs” by Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. page 37:

“To most women, affection symbolizes security, protection, comfort, and approval, vitally important commodities in their eyes. When a husband shows his wife affection, he sends the following messages:

I care about you.
You are important to me, and I don’t want anything to happen to you.
I’m concerned about the problems you face and I’ll try to help you overcome them.

…Men need to understand how strongly women need these affirmations.”

Many men try to show affection to their wife with sex. No. Sex is sex. Affection is non-sexual. Any hug, kiss, or physical touch that is sexual in nature, or intended to lead to sex, is not affection. I'll talk more about sex later.

Affection is very closely related to the 5 Love Languages popularized by Dr. Gary Chapman. When you show love to your partner in the language they prefer, you are showing affection.

If your partner has a need for affection, what can you do to provide them a feeling a security and comfort in a non-sexual way?

Sexual Fulfillment

Sex is most often associated as a need for men. Today however, more women are reporting a similarly strong need for sex. A partner can feel cheated in a marriage because they don't get enough sex. For a partner with a strong need for sex, it is nearly as important as the air they breathe. Without sex, one can feel unloved. When feeling unloved a partner can do very bad things.

Men often do not understand the relationship between affection and sex. They want sex, but forget about giving affection first. Sex and affection are highly inter-related.

When a man gives ample affection to his wife, she is far more likely to be in the mood for sex.

If you have sexual fantasies, that is a good indicator that sex is high on your list of emotional needs. 

As I said earlier, women can also have very high sex needs. Sometimes, it is the woman who is the sexual aggressor in a marriage. That is OK.

When sex is a high emotional need, it is beneficial for both partners to educate themselves in the art of sex. Boring sex is a drag. It can take all the fun of sex out of it. If either partner isn’t into it, the other partner will know. If a woman likes to get a rose now and then, she wouldn’t like him to throw it on the table and say “Here’s your damn flower.” Likewise, if he or she just goes through the motions, the more sexually aggressive partner will sense it and not receive the love they could have received from sex.

If a man wants more sex, he has to give his woman more affection, all the time. He can have fun with this. He can be creative in when and how he gives affection, and she can get creative in the bedroom, or wherever. When the wife wants more sex but is turned away by the husband, she needs to get creative in finding out what is causing his sexual shyness.

A man thrives on making his wife happy. Likewise, when a woman has a strong need for sex, she also wants to make her man happy. Full participation in lovemaking is essential. I’ll get more into lovemaking versus just sex in another article.

Intimate Conversations

Intimate conversation is the next step beyond normal, everyday conversation. Intimate conversation is personal. It reveals feelings, concerns, cares and is often emotional. Intimate conversation often occurs while dating, and then drops off after marriage. Most women not only crave intimate conversation, but they need it. Men tend to not need it as much, nor enjoy talking intimately after marriage.

Intimate conversation does not take place when one partner is distracted by the TV, radio, or something else. Intimate conversation is dedicated time set aside for the exclusive purpose of connecting about the day, problems, achievements, dreams, fears, and goals. Dr. Harley, Jr. recommends 15 hours of such conversation each and every week. While that may sound difficult, it is a sound way to develop a happy marriage.

If you are familiar with the concept of the Love Bank, intimate conversation is a great way to make love bank deposits. Men need to understand this and develop intimate conversation skills.

For those with a need for intimate conversation will fall in love with someone who can have such a conversation with them. They will stay in love with the person who continues to have an intimate conversation.

Recreational Companionship

It is fun to share your preferred recreational activities with your partner. Men will often enjoy playing tennis, softball, soccer, or go on hikes and other adventures. While dating, both parties try to do as many things as possible together, whether they like the activity or not. They enjoy spending time with their love. Once married, however, couples have a tendency to only do the activities they enjoy, often letting their partner spend an inordinate amount of time doing activities solo or with other friends. This separation of activities is a dangerous practice.

Marriage coaches often hear from one partner that the other partner changed. We hear that before marriage they used to do all kinds of things together, but not now.

Men are the ones usually wanting to do recreational activities. It is a real bonus when his wife participates in the activity or supports him from the sideline. Women also love to do activities and would love to have her husband join her. When they each stop doing activities together, each is making a conscious decision to not support their partner. It is a bad decision.

Recreational companionship combines two needs into one – that of recreation and companionship.

The answer is one that takes a little work and a lot of compromises. You need to find recreational activities you both enjoy doing. Yes, that means one or both of you may have to stop doing a preferred activity. This is a decision you are making for the betterment of the marriage. You may have to try several different activities before you find one or two you both like. The result is that you and your partner will be spending more time together. This will be time to talk, share experiences, and enjoy life together.

Honesty and Openness

Honesty and openness give us a sense of security. When a partner shares their innermost thoughts and feelings, becoming vulnerable, they give a precious gift to their partner. It is no surprise that women tend to need honesty and openness more than men.

If you feel especially loved when your partner shares their soul with you, becoming vulnerable, you have a need for honesty and openness.

Tied to intimate conversation, honesty and openness take the need to a whole new level covering many topics. Very simply, there can be no secrets between husband and wife. Anytime I come across a partner talking about their privacy and needing their own space, I know the marriage is in serious trouble. They are trying to hide something, past, present, or future. Such secrets drive a wedge between the partners. How can any person fully trust another person when there are secrets?

Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. suggests a policy of radical honesty. Radical honesty includes:

  1. 1
    Emotional Honesty – reveal your thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes, especially regarding your spouse’s behavior.
  2. 2
    Historical Honesty – reveal everything about your past, especially as it pertains to your weaknesses and failures.
  3. 3
    Current Honesty – reveal information about your day, calendar, and activities, especially anything that pertains to your partner.
  4. 4
    Future Honesty – reveal full details about your future plans and goals.

Such honesty is rare today. When we date we tend to put our best face forward. That’s fine for an initial meeting, but afterward, you cannot continue misleading your potential partner. If you married this person and still have secrets or things you don’t want them to know, now is the time to share that information. Simply by holding back, your partner knows there is something. That uncertainty leads to questions and doubt. Doubt and uncertainty have a way of building walls between people. The only solution is radical honesty.

Physical Attraction

It is well known that men are more visual creatures. Yes, this means that men tend to have the need to be around their wife who looks beautiful in their eyes. I know, it is not politically or culturally correct. Men shouldn’t think that way, you may say. The fact remains we live in the real world and this is an innate need for many men, and women also.

Ladies, if you are having an issue with this particular need, I ask you to be honest. When you go out on a date with your man to a special place, don’t you like it when he cleans up, shaves, and puts on a nice set of freshly pressed clothes? Doesn’t it make you feel special that you are with such a handsome man?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You may have a need to be with someone you find physically attractive. What is physically attractive to you? What you find attractive, someone else may not. All that matters are what you find attractive, and your partner makes a serious effort to look attractive for you.

What is beauty? Some may suggest the following:

  • Weight
  • Clothes
  • Hair Style
  • Make-up or the Lack of it
  • Shoes
  • Hygiene
  • Smell

When we do our best to look good with how we are, we are giving a special gift to our partner. If you have a need for your partner to be physically attractive, you need to be radically honest with your partner. When both of you have the same understanding, you will both feel loved.

Financial Support

What do you expect financially from your spouse? Do you have plans financially that depends on your spouse earning a certain amount or higher? Do you expect your spouse to work when you will not be working? All of these expectations need to be shared with your partner. It is no surprise that women often have an emotional need for financial support, even when they work or earn more than the husband.

Today, women are far more independent than they ever have been. The actual need for a man is less than it ever has been. Many women earn more than their male spouse. Even if that is the case, what are the expectations? Women tend to like a man that can provide, or at least participate financially.

If a couple is planning to raise children, the expectations on the husband increase dramatically. If they dream of owning a house or fixing up where they live, financial demands can increase. If they like driving nice cars, the same applies. There are many areas where financial matters are very relevant. Discussions in these areas are best done early and often.

Domestic Support

Dr. Harley, Jr. puts it well: “The need for domestic support is a time bomb.” There was a time when it was expected that the man would earn the money to support the household, and the woman would raise the children and keep the house clean. Today with many women working a full or part-time job, having to raise the children and keep the house clean is an undue burden. Yet, there are still many men who want to put in their time at work and come home to relax, having dinner waiting for them.

When children arrive, the need for domestic support changes radically. The fact is, we do not live in the 1950’s any longer and cooperation in taking care of the children and household are mandatory.

Consider the following actions:

  1. 1
    Identify all household responsibilities. Both partners must agree on the list of duties.
  2. 2
    Assume responsibilities for specified tasks. From the master list, each partner agrees to do the tasks they wish to take on.
  3. 3
    Assign the remaining tasks. Both partners agree to who will do what and when they are to be completed.
  4. 4
    Each spouse indicates which duties they would like help with. Some tasks are best done together or with the help of the other spouse.
  5. 5
    Each partner helps the other spouse with other tasks. Love units are earned by giving help where your help is volunteered and appreciated.

Family Commitment

Family commitment is not child care. Family commitment is the active participation in the raising of the children with their moral and educational needs. Many women need help from the father to properly raise their children. Some of the help includes:

  • Meals together as a family
  • Attending church services together
  • Playing board games together
  • Reading to the children at bedtime
  • Teaching the children about finances
  • Planning and participating in family day trips
  • Playing sports with the children

Parenting takes a lot of time and training. Schedules need to be adjusted for family events. Parents may need to take classes or read how to raise the children. Some of the key areas include:

  1. 1
    Learn how to reach an agreement with your spouse. The two of you must be on the same page when it comes to the children.
  2. 2
    Learn how to explain the rules to the children. No one parent should be the preferred or good parent when it comes to the children.
  3. 3
    Learn how to be consistent. Don’t let the mood of either parent allow rules to be broken or swayed. This can pit one parent against the other. Children will learn how to leverage a parent.
  4. 4
    Learn how to punish properly and fairly. Spanking can be appropriate when done properly. Corporal punishment can be excessive, especially as the child grows up.
  5. 5
    Learn how to handle anger. Never punish a child when in the state of anger. Develop the skills of emotional intelligence to recognize when you start becoming angry and act accordingly.


Kind words and recognition for your efforts can make serious love unit deposits for someone who needs admiration. Most often, men need admiration. Just as kind words can make serious love unit deposits, harsh words and criticism make serious withdrawals.

Men are often driven to achieve, accomplish, and succeed. Men like to hear they are doing well. They like to hear that their efforts are appreciated. I was listening to a Dr. John Gray interview recently, and he was elaborating on how important it is for a woman to show admiration to her man. Even when they are experiencing difficulties, sincere compliments go a long way. When a man hears his wife say something positive about him in front of neighbors or friends, he gets serious love unit deposits.

Dr. Gottman is well known for his writings about the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. These are 4 actions that destroy a marriage and lead to divorce. One of them is criticism. Many people confuse criticism with a complaint. A complaint is when you might say “Honey, you said you would take the trash out today. We’re ready to go to bed and the trash is still in the house.” Criticism makes it personal. A criticism sounds like this: “You are worthless. You promised to take the trash out and you didn’t. Why can’t you do anything you say. You’re a liar.”

In relation to the 5 Love Needs, the need for admiration is similar to Words of Affirmation. Kind words heal. Harsh words hurt. When we feel pain from our partner it may seem OK to use harsh words. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every harsh word causes a withdrawal in the love bank. Enough harsh words cause a negative balance. When the love bank goes into the negative the marriage is in serious jeopardy. We control the words we use. We make the choice to make deposits or withdrawals.

Determine Your Emotional Needs

The way to determine your emotional needs is to first read the descriptions above and make a list that you think are your 10 emotional needs, prioritized from 1 to 10. Now, imagine you could only have 1 of these needs. Take a look at number 1 and number 2. Make a mark next to the one that would help you feel more loved. Then look at number 2 and number 3. Make a mark next to the one that would help you feel most loved. Continue down the list for all 10. Make sure the last comparison is between number 10 and number 1, so that all 10 get an equal comparison.

The next step is to imagine you can have 2 of the emotional needs. This time look at the first 4 needs and place a mark next to the 2 you most associate with. Then, look at 2 through 5 and place a mark next to the 2 you most need. Then 3 through 6 going through the entire list placing a mark next to the 2 you feel would most help you feel loved. Like before, make sure the last comparison is between number 10 and number 3.

Now, count up all the marks. The 5 with the most marks are your 5 emotional needs. Now rank them from 1 to 5 according to the ones with the most marks to the least marks.


Doing this exercise can TRANSFORM your marriage. When it comes to personal needs, we often do not have proper words to describe them. This exercise provides you with terms you can now discuss with your partner.

In my coaching programs I continue this exercise and coach you how to tie these needs into your everyday life. The emotional needs covers the middle tier of the 13 Personal Needs. In addition to the emotional needs, you have love needs and human needs. 

I often talk about how important it is to get to the root cause of a problem and not deal with the surface issues. Your 13 Personal Needs are often the root cause of problems you experience in life and your marriage. ALL marriage problems are rooted in the marriage foundation.

About the author

Mark Jala is a certified marriage coach, researcher, and consumer advocate. Certified in Strategic Interventions, Mark bases all of his services and advice on verifiable research. With nearly 40 years of problem solving experience, Mark has developed a holistic approach to marriage coaching which provides a context and execution plan not seen in ordinary marriage services.

  • roseoetals says:

    I found these leaned too heavily on gender stereotypes. I felt offended. Only men have higher sex drives? I’m a woman with an incredible high sex drive and NEED sex; kinky sex at that.
    Only important to men that their partner remain attractive? I do what I can to take care of myself and feel and look good, but it goes both ways.
    I agree with meeting needs and the importance of honest communication, but let go of the gender stereotyping.

    • Thank you for your comment. Gender roles is a hot topic today and often driven by cultural or political motives. I rely on science and research. Regarding sex, the article never says only men have high sex drives. It says men are typically associated with wanting sex. The brains of men and women are different. Women have more neural connections between the two hemispheres. Hormones are very different between men and women. I’m sorry you felt offended, but it sounds more like a cultural reaction rather than what the article really says.

      • Bad article says:

        Bad article
        You take every moment to shove it in our faces how men and women are different. Even if what you’re saying is partially “correct” the wording and CLEAR personal agenda are very distracting. It’s remarkable how little information you supplied in your descriptions of the differences. I understand it may be hard to fit in this uninspired, righteous, and very scientific article. It may have been easier to explain if you had used even an iota of data or tangible evidence.
        “Today, women are far more independent than they ever have been. The actual NEED for a man is LESS than it ever has been. Many women earn more than their male spouse. Even if that is the case, what are the expectations? Women TEND TO LIKE A MAN WHO CAN PROVIDE OR ATLEAST PARTICIPATE FINANCIALLY.”

        Are you f*cking kidding me??? This is just one example of the vapid, misinformed, and VERY nuanced (not at all), statements given in the article. Besides the unnecessary crusade on your misinterpretation of current culture, the article is DRIPPING with misogyny. It’s almost comical how blatant it is
        “Many women need help from the father to properly raise their children.”
        EVEN if the statement is literally true and can be applied both ways, the wording is CLEARLY rooted in sexist and regressive ideas.

        Vapid, Ignorant, reductive, misleading, sexist vibe, blatant sexism, poorly worded, authors personal crusade against women being different does nothing but distract the reader, generally lazy information, no proper data given, doesn’t explain the differences well, could have just talked about both men and women in each category and the article would be both more accurate and the same length.

        I can go ON AND ON.

        I hope you see this Mark. I now I came on strong but try and see the light 😉 also damnl ike you can really just half ass the hell outa this shit maybe i should write shitty internetj articles

        • When I see a comment like this I know I am on the right track, and the article hits the nail on the head. Extremists like the author of this comment do not care about the truth or scientific research, but what the culture tells her to feel.

          In your comment, you are outraged that I write that women want a man that can provide or at least participate in the support of the family. Really? That is supposed to be vapid and misinformed? Are you really suggesting that women want to be married to deadbeats that cannot provide any financial resources to the family?

          No. I’ll stick with the article as written. You may also find helpful my other articles, like this one – https://www.happymarriagecoaching.com/marriage-principles/divorce-rate-high/, that also points out that the culture is not family friendly.

          Culture changes like the wind. Principles do not. I wish you luck and enlightenment.

        • For anyone desiring a traditional, long-term successful relationship, this article is a great help! I have spent many years practicing, making mistakes and value the scientifically based solutions provided by the authors. Even if the data and studies weren’t presented in this article, I do know the work of these authors is based on several decades of deep studies. Just because one person can’t handle the truth about what makes marriages last, it doesn’t mean the author is not helping people. Your language shows your level of emotional maturity and lacks a growth mindset, for sure!

  • What emotional need would ‘needing to feel considered in decision-making’ fall under? This is a big issue for me in my marriage, but I can’t quite figure out where it belongs. Maybe it ties into all of them? Thanks in advance!

    • What a wonderful question. I am seeing this issue come up more frequently. When one partner locks out the other partner in decision-making, it is a sense of control. Do you feel that your partner is trying to control you, the decisions, or how things are handled around the house? If so, I would suggest reading another article I provide on the 6 Human Needs. Love Needs, Emotional Needs, and Human Needs make up the 3 sets of Personal Needs, all part of the marriage foundation. Please check out the article on Human Needs here: https://www.happymarriagecoaching.com/marriage-advice/6-human-needs-having-a-happy-marriage/

  • I have studied about Gottmans 4 horseman, as mentioned here – critism – that swings both ways! Men can be extremely critical (to the point of anger) and it destroys their marriages. As for your stereotyping, your using science, they’ve found this left brain /right brain theory not true, men are this way women are this way thinkers is not accurate nor helpful. They say women talk more and so on? Not true – many men talk more than women, and many women are not talkers. This stereotyping (sex, respect, admiration, even affection) idea has been used by men to avoid truly hearing their wives, but instead assume they already KNOW them, put labels on them, judge them, when they clearly don’t know them as individuals now. They just tell them they “are” such and such because they’re women. This has been a major thinking error in problem solving, and also keeps them from knowing each other for who they really are. It’s not cultural or political. It’s just fact. Why do you think new improved working couples programs are out there now? Because they truly love and respect both sexes in every area and not stereotype old fashioned chauvinistic tendencies.

    • The recent trend of demonizing certain terms has exasperated me to no end, constantly misinterpreting messages and totally missing intent because a speaker “seems” to have said something wrong and “seems” to be this and that instead of seeing the whole point; there are undeniable physiological differences between men and women, but NONE of them are 100% true in every case. EVER. That’s a hard given that EVERYONE knows. And yet, when you read “most” you see “all” for some reason. There is no chauvinism happening here, no malicious intent, no effort to denigrate any particular gender at all. And if you insist there is, it’s because you’re looking through your own filter of what you believe is true and attacking whatever it is that slightly disagrees with your idea of truth.

    • I appreciate your comment Lynda. I stand by the research. You have anecdotal evidence. Everyone knows someone who doesn’t fit some form of stereotype. You claim the brain research I cite is incorrect. Please show me the study and I’ll be happy to take it into consideration.

  • Spanking children are you real?

    • Absolutely! Notice the line also says… “when done properly.” It is also followed up with a warning of being abusive.

      Our culture today has become very anti-spanking. Today, many parents are following the “permissive” parenting style. These parents often want to be friends with the child, and often forget their role as parent, to take care of the child’s needs and prep them for life in the real world.

      Many of the studies attacking the use of spanking are flawed in their methodology. They usually fail to mention that alternatives to spanking have low success and are subject to too much variability in how they are applied.

      Parenting is not easy. No one advocates abuse of children. The debate about the type and degree of discipline for a misbehaving child will continue to go on for a long time. Removing an option of discipline is handcuffing the parent. It can prove to cause more long-term harm for the child than the spanking itself.

  • When I read this article, I realized how much our marriage is lacking on both ends, but why?? My husband was diagnosed with BPD, Bipolar II. His PERCEPTION, his bipolar rage and mood swings distanced me years ago…affection, sex,affirmation etc disappeared on my end. Now medicated and at baseline, how do I manage to let my guards down to reestablish the connection between us? So much transpired in the years he was undiagnosed. I almost feel like it will never come back. Too much resentment, too little connection.

    • I’m sorry for your difficult situation. Once there is resentment, lack of connection, and I assume a loss of trust, it is a long hard journey to gain them back. I suggest going back to basics and start “dating” again, even if it is at the dinner table. Re-establish your love maps. Learn everything you can about your partner and share what is going on with you. You can do this. Take the lead and be strong.

  • Hi Mark, my partner has trauma so we are not sexualy intimate, we were for 3 months 5 years ago, and not since. It has been difficult, and at times I dont know what im feeling. But we are still together, he is affectionate, but I feel like he wont commit to me and its not a pleasant feeling as I have given him a lot of consideration. I would like to move forwards with some good thoughts and I work hard to keep myself happy.

    • Have you both gone through these emotional needs and determined what each of you need? The next step is to come up with at least 5 ways each need can be fulfilled. What are some additional ways he can help you feel happy and fulfilled? Let him know that and see if he’ll make the effort. I hope everything works out well for you. Keep trying new ways to get him to connect with you.

  • Bruce D. Latham, DO says:

    Appreciated you insight. I am a Family physician and an undergraduate degree in Social Work, and a minor in Child Development and Family Relations for Brigham Young University. We have been married 23 years, but for the last 15 years my wife has completely stopped showing affection, no sexual intimacy, has become completely critical, angry, absolutely no empathy. She fits 8 of the 9 DSM criteria for Narcissistic Disorder, and is covert. Do you do on line counseling. I live in NH?

    • Hello Bruce. Yes, I offer online coaching in two ways. Personal one-on-one coaching calls are a great way to get personal help. You can get more info here: https://www.happymarriagecoaching.com/personal-marriage-coaching/

      Additionally, I also offer a comprehensive online course. The course is a great way to go at your own pace when and where you want to get the training. This is great for both couples working together and for partners working solo. More info is here: https://www.happymarriagecoaching.com/reignite-the-love/

      Please let me know if you have questions.

      • My husband seems to be a malignant narcissist. This became evident after marriage. Before marriage he was sexual and affectionate. Now married he claims I’m using it for a “control tactic”!!!! After 4 years of being upset to a point I can’t begin to explain, along with trying all I can to make him understand how it should be, how it was, and what I need, I’m considering divorce. I don’t know if this is a sick game or if he has mental problems.

  • Just the concept of an “Emotional Need” has such potential to catapult a couples awareness, skill set, and potential. The ten “typical” listed are a great starting point, and the author repeatedly says to contextualize it to your reality. Getting lost bickering about that nuance is missing the boat. The other-centered journey of learning your partners emotional wiring is gold. Thank you for such a practical overview of the books ideas. As a therapist I have seen countless clients get real traction from this book, and appreciate it deeply. It is all HOW one chooses to use this pivotal tool.

  • Hi Mark, I am currently working out of some damaging messages surrounding sex as a need for men and must be given by women. From the comments I have seen so far, I see that your intent is not to feed any stereotype, but try and give research based information on these needs. I just wanted to let you know some of the language around sex is unhelpful from my lens in a few ways, which I will state below:

    1. The wording that sex is as important as the air that person breathes. This is not used to describe any of the other needs. For the partner who has a lot of hurt around the act of sex (as there tends to be a lot of brokenness here) can you imagine the pressure this puts on the spouse working through sex? Can you imagine the entitlement this may give the partner with the high sex drive? Language is so important, and I feel this could be triggering. Also, if it is as important as the air that person breathes, it is so odd that so many people in adult life are living without air. This sounds sarcastic, but I say it to point out that not only does this language bring hurt within a marriage, but is a little crazy when you think about it in terms of those who are single or living in abstinence

    2. You state “If a man wants more sex, he has to give his woman more affection, all the time”. While I can see that this language is harmful too. As someone who has affection as a higher need, I do not feel like true affection is given if i feel there is an obligation attached. In my experience in any given relationship in my life, an attitude of give to get is not helpful at all. And certainly not sacrificial.

    This language, once again, puts the act of sex on a pedestal in my opinion. No one needs more of that kind of language in our culture. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Thank you, Marie, for your comment. It sounds like you have been through some difficult times, and sex in some way has caused some trauma in your life. Most articles are designed to address situations of common marriages. I would like to think that a reply to a blog post can offer some comfort for someone facing trauma, but my finding is that such deep hurt requires more. I’ll do my best, though. I offer the following as my response.

      1. I stand by my post indicating that sex is a crucial part of marriage for the vast majority of people. The intimacy sex can provide is a strong bonding action that can help a marriage. For those like yourself who has some trauma related to sex, need special care to help manage or resolve that hurt. Your hurt doesn’t change the reality for everyone else. Your pain is real and needs attention. I encourage you to seek proper care so you can have a healing.

      2. The relationship between affection and sex is an important one. You are absolutely correct that there should not be an obligation of sex for given affection. I cover this extensively in my training materials. A healthy marriage should not have such bartering or quid-quo-pro, a this for that. It is also related to my training on requests and demands. In a healthy relationship, men simply need to understand that they need to willingly give a lot of affection. Women should willingly have sex. Not because it was demanded or an obligation, but because it is an expression of love. It’s a way they each can share their love for their partner.

      In your case, Marie, and especially if you are in a relationship where your partner is expecting sex, you need healing of past hurts and trauma. Only with such healing can you move on and have a loving relationships. Please consider some coaching from me or counseling from a trained therapist. I only want the best for you so you can live a happy and fulfilled life. I encourage you to check out my Personal Coaching services here: https://www.happymarriagecoaching.com/personal-marriage-coaching/

      I wish you the best. Please contact me directly if you have further questions. I am here to help.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Subscribe to My FREE Newsletter

    HMC does not sell, rent, or share any provided information. We value your privacy. 
    Your information is safe.