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Relationships, by definition, require two or more people to connect for a purpose or state of being.  Early in relationships, two people come together as individuals with needs and a sense of who they are. In order for the relationship to grow and thrive, relationship needs have to be identified and worked on by all in the relationship.

Understanding your needs is vital to every relationship, and especially among couples. In couples therapy, and over time, it is helpful to explore personal needs and relationship needs. This can be a challenge at times, because people often feel it is selfish to think about their personal needs. Selfish is a word that comes with judgment. I encourage people to move past judgement and consider how you are able to be more present and available in your relationship as a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend, when you are clear about your needs.

Here are a few tips to staying connected to you and your needs:

  • Engage in self-care and wellness activities. This may include regular massage treatments, yoga or meditation. Regardless of the activity, make sure you are setting aside time for you.

  • Identify your goals. State and regularly evaluate your goals that may include financial, professional, or physical achievements you would like to reach.

  • Explore things that make you happy. Happiness ebbs and flows. Sitting outside in nature might make you happy today, but in a year might not. Seek those things that bring you happiness. So, as your relationship grows, your partner is not your sole source of happiness.

It is crucial to the survival of any relationship that you identify and establish your needs and be able to articulate them clearly. This clarity helps to build boundaries and healthy relationships. It is healthy to become focused on maintaining the relationship and it is also necessary to remember, you as an individual, are important to the maintenance of the relationship.