How To Save And Improve Your Relationship 

 February 13, 2023

By  Kristin Rivas

Whether you’re simply wanting to deepen and strengthen your current relationship, or you’re trying to save a relationship that seems to be falling apart, this journaling exercise will help you gain insight into your own patterns, your partner’s patterns, and the patterns that show up in your relationship.

When we have clearer knowledge about ourselves, we have a greater ability to connect with others in a deep and healthy way. The following questions need to be answered very honestly. Be aware that you may discover things you don’t like about yourself. In order to overcome your challenges, you first have to know what they are. Use any discomfort this exercise may bring up for you as fuel to motivate meaningful actions to evolve yourself and your relationship.

Also know that falling back into old patterns is bound to happen from time to time. The difference is that by working through them, you will gain insight and tools that will allow you to use better ways of handling and breaking unhealthy patterns. You can find new ways to interrupt your own, and your partner’s, behaviors and tendencies. It's perfectly possible to do this while appreciating each other’s values, needs, and humanity.

You may find reviewing at least one or more of the following relationship interventions from this video collection helpful for a better understanding of how powerful the following process can be...

3 Levels of Relationships

  1. First Level: The partners are only concerned about getting their own needs met. This type of relationship cannot last.
  2. Second Level: The partners barter for needs. “I’ll give you what you want, if you give me what I want.” We call this horse-trading. This relationship can last, but will not bring lasting intimacy and joy.
  3. Third Level: The partners put the others’ needs first. This is the only relationship where love is unconditional and it is essential to long-lasting fulfillment. 

You cannot enjoy a relationship at the highest level unless both of you are discovering how to meet each other’s needs and put each other first. If you can do this, your relationship will transform before your eyes.

6 Basic Human Needs

These are the top needs that we have to have met in order to feel really fulfilled. Look at your own experience, and get clear with yourself about how you get these needs met, as well as how fully these needs are being met on a scale of one to ten. People generally favor two needs above the others within
the first four needs listed. Try to pick out the order of your top two. (Read Determining The Needs That Drive You The Most for further information.)

  • Certainty
  • Uncertainty/Variety
  • Significance
  • Connection/Love
  • Growth
  • Contribution

Now Let’s Dive Into The Questions!

(Remember to be really honest with yourself! 😉 )

  1. What are your top two needs?
  2. How do you meet your top needs? Do you satisfy them more at work, at home, with friends, with relatives, or by yourself?
  3. What has to happen for you to feel that your top needs are being met?
  4. How often does it have to happen, and with whom?
  5. When it comes to feeling loved, are you more responsive to words, touch, quality time, acts of service, gifts, or romantic gestures?
  6. What could your partner do to meet your needs better and more regularly? Take a moment to write it down. Would you be willing to talk with your partner about this? If not, why not?
  7. At what level are you meeting your partner’s six human needs? Rate each on a scale from 1 to 10.
  8. How certain do you think your partner is that you love them?
  9. How much variety and surprise do they get from you?
  10. How certain do they feel that they are significant and number one in your life?
  11. How much love and connection do they get from you on a daily basis
  12. How much growth do they feel in your relationship?
  13. How much do you help them to contribute to the relationship and family life?
  14. Is your partner more responsive to words, touch, visual cues, or gifts and gestures?
  15. What could you do every month, every week, every day, or several times a day for your partner?
  16. How would it feel to be completely confident that you can meet your partner’s needs?

If You’re Not Sure How To Meet Your Partner’s Needs, Ask Them!

Ask “What has to happen for you to feel this need has been met?” Ask this question with respect to all six needs. Everyone has individual ways for meeting their needs. It is your job as their partner to know and serve their needs, even if their needs are difficult for you to understand.

  1. Which of your top needs are being met by people outside of your intimate relationship?
  2. Are they family members, friends, colleagues, children?
  3. Are you getting more significance, love, or variety from people other than your intimate partner? Does your partner ever feel jealous or displaced by this?
  4. Or are you getting needs met by someone who is critical or judgmental of your partner?

If this kind of intrusion is creating a challenge for your partner, you need to correct it (be sure to look at the important note at the end so that you can confirm that these are reasonable challenges).

Questions for Understanding

Relationship Needs

The secret to a happy relationship is to know how to satisfy each other’s human needs. When you satisfy any two needs of a person, you have made a connection. When you satisfy four of their needs, you have created a bond. If you satisfy all six of their needs, the person will never want to leave you.
It can sometimes be helpful to get the input of trusted friends or family. They aren’t blinded by being in this experience, so they may be able to offer you valuable insight. This might jolt you out of some patterns with how you interpret whatever the problems may be in your relationship, and give you
new ideas that really help you get to the heart of the issue.

  1. Which human needs are you meeting for your partner and in what ways?
  2. Which aren’t you meeting?
  3. How are those needs being met elsewhere?
  4. How can you give to each other?
  5. How can you commit to each other?
  6. What weapon(s) have you and your partner been using against each other? (Meaning, in conflict we all have things that we use to reassert ourselves or try to maintain more control. For example some people use humor, some people might use avoidance — figure out what you’re doing that may be shutting your partner down and keeping you both from really reaching the heart of an issue.)
  7. How can you lay down your weapon(s)?
  8. How can you help your partner lay down their weapon(s)?

*It’s important to note that none of this means that you need to cater to your partner’s needs if they take their own behavior into abusive territory.*

Your partner is the most significant person in your life. At the same time that does not mean they can make any unhealthy demands of you such as monopolizing your time or resources (financial, etc.), or deciding how you should be spending all of your time. Nor should your partner be dictating who all of your friends are, or use any other controlling, manipulative behaviors to be dependent on you or make you dependent on them. They should never touch you in anger nor in a sexual manner without your consent.

If you are concerned that your current relationship fits any of this criteria, consult with a professional on codependent or abusive relationships immediately!

  • You can also visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline site
  • Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224 or Text "START" to 88788 available 24/7
  • Seattle Based Resources For Women: 
    • Therapists : Sonia Nikolova: 206-745-3021 | Francine Buckner: 206-535-1806 | Elina Durchman: 206-567-7645 
    • Broadview Emergency Shelter: 877-622-3122 or 206-622-4933
    • Family Law site with suggestions for places that lists resources for those who ARE battering
  • If you are a man concerned at your ability to manage your temper or maintain self control while interacting with your partner, reach out to a battering intervention program such as these Seattle based resources:
    • It Takes A Village Family Services (253) 838-3111
    • Well Spring Family Services (206) 826-3044
    • Asian Counseling and Referral Services (206) 695-7600
  • Other Resources For Women & Men In abusive Relationships Include:
    • Read Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men | Lundy Bancroft Even if you’ve read Why Does He Do That? it may be hard to see the truth of what is happening to you. You may feel overwhelmed by confusion, loss, and fear, and find yourself looking away from the truth and falling back into traumatic patterns. What you need is something that is there for you every day—to help you make a long series of little changes that will ultimately add up to a big one. It helps you to digest what is happening a piece at a time, so that you can gain clarity, safety, and freedom.
    • LegalVoice.org is a link is to free resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. They also have resources on the following topics. They’re not super extensive, but still good to keep in mind.
    • Technology Safety - NNEDV's Safety Net: National Safe & Strategic Technology Project creates resources to help victims and agencies respond effectively to the many ways that technology impacts victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual violence and stalking.

If you or your loved ones could use any extra help dealing with dysfunctional behavior patterns that negatively affect your relationship, or any other intimacy issues, please utilize my services.

Kristin Rivas

Kristin Rivas is a certified Brain Health Coach, Hypnotherapist, and NLP practitioner who helps people to feel, think, and live better. Specializing in behavior change and goal achievement, she empowers clients to live to their full potential & foster their own wellness. A former TEDx presenter, she is also a highly sought after speaker.

Kristin Rivas

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