We’ve been extra busy lately - on weekends and weekdays alike. With everything that we committed to, there just hasn’t been much time for fun or relaxation.
Last night we finally discussed our unmet need for fun. We both were dragging, and being productive was taking more effort than usual. We felt a little irritable, and misunderstandings and short responses were more frequent. There were moments of sudden tension, and we didn’t receive each other’s sense of humor as well as usual. Our unmet need for fun was interfering with our relationship!
I (Mel) remember a time when my need for belonging went unmet. Ten years ago, we relocated from Cincinnati to Detroit. We knew absolutely no one in our new town! We put on a brave face, but ultimately, we were suffering separately and therefore felt even more isolated. My unmet need to belong had me feeling broken-hearted and lonely, and I lay around most days and cried. I stopped cooking family dinners and we ate on the couch. I didn’t feel very romantic. I also wasn’t supporting Mark in his new job. We were very disconnected – more like roommates than spouses and lovers. Finally, I started sharing my feelings with Mark, and we started to reach out to each other to reconnect. Together we struck up conversations with parents at our kids’ soccer games, and joined organizations together. What a world of difference it made!
I (Mark) have a strong need for competence. I want so badly to accomplish things and earn respect. I have a huge fear of failure that drives me to succeed at all costs. Recently, I had a long list of things to do and some of them involved Mel. She really likes to take her time and to enjoy the distraction of our pets. The thought of falling behind and not getting things done stresses me out. I started to push Mel to work faster and she became frustrated. Eventually, she asked me what was going on and I was able to share how stressed I was feeling. We sat down and made a plan together to get things done in a time frame that worked for both of us.
Pondering our needs and which ones are going unmet has been really helpful to us. Take a moment to consider your needs. Click here to read more about the four basic psychological needs: Competence, Love & Belonging, Freedom, and Fun.