Since February is National Relationship Wellness Month, I thought I would close it out with a Relationship Wellness Checklist to help you determine and define where you and your partner are in harmony or where you need work. If you are unable to tick all the boxes, don’t worry; this just provides a snapshot of your relationship right now. If there are areas you don’t check, it could be because that area is one that isn’t a priority for you. It also might be because you are experiencing difficulty in that area, or it could mean that it’s an area you may want to improve.
Relationship Wellness means you can meet your five basic human needs because of your relationship, not despite it. Notice I didn’t say Relationship Wellness is being able to meet all five of your needs within your relationship; that’s a lot of pressure to place on one person.
It’s important to note that the person responsible for meeting your needs is you, not your partner. Should you find a partner who meets several of your needs, you are fortunate indeed. If you happen to find a partner who meets all of them, that’s miraculous. For me, I don’t necessarily want to have a partner who satisfies all my needs. If I did, I may allow my world to narrow to just the two of us, leading to me feeling crushed if the relationship ever ended. Unfortunately, all relationships end, either by death, divorce or decision. My goal is to have relationships where many of my needs are met because of or within the relationship. Other people and things outside the relationship would be there to fill the gaps without disrespecting or jeopardizing the relationship.
This looks different for every person, so start with your five basic needs: survival, connection, significance, freedom and joy.
If you have a high need for survival, you want to feel safe and secure most of the time. This means you probably wouldn’t vibe well with a partner who smokes in your presence or spends money unnecessarily. You don’t do well with big spontaneous gestures or plans. If your partner isn’t sensitive to this need in you, you may want to get this need met with other people or meet it within yourself.
If you have a high need for connection, you likely crave quality time with others. If your partner also craves this, then you will probably share a good bit of quality time together and that will be great. If you have a high need for connection that is met by your friends, your family members or your job, you may not require a lot of quality time from your partner. If this describes your partner and you are seeking quality time from him or her, you may find you need to look for this outside your relationship.
If you have a high need for significance, satisfying this in your relationship would look like your partner recognizing your importance to them, your strengths and your contributions to the family and life in general. It also means your partner meeting his or her need for significance does not prevent you from meeting yours.
Getting your need for freedom met in the relationship involves your ability to be yourself without fear. It means your partner accepts, and may even celebrate, your independence and creativity. In your relationship, you are comfortable making your own decisions unless it is a decision that involves the two of you.
If you have a high need for joy and meet it in your relationship, you and your partner have similar ways of experiencing joy and you like doing them together. It may mean that you have similar senses of humor and enjoy discovery learning together. If you derive joy from dissimilar things, then you will need to agree to share in the things that delight your partner equally, or you agree to meet your joy need on your own or with different people.
None of these are good or bad. If you can’t check one of the boxes below, I’d wonder if you have anything holding your relationship together other than neediness, habit or hormones. If you have two to four things checked, you are doing alright but there is room for improvement. If you can tick off all five, protect and nurture that relationship because it is rare indeed.
It is ideal to complete the checklist on your own while having your partner do the same.
Relationship Wellness Checklist:
- I feel safe and secure enough with my partner.
- My partner feels safe and secure enough with me.
- If not, we both, or the person who does not, have other ways of feeling safe and secure outside the relationship without jeopardizing or disrespecting the relationship.
- I feel connected enough to my partner.
- My partner feels connected enough to me.
- If not, we both, or the person who does not, have other ways of feeling connected outside the relationship without jeopardizing or disrespecting the relationship.
- I feel significant when with my partner.
- My partner feels significant when with me.
- If not, we both, or the person who does not, have other ways of feeling significant outside the relationship without jeopardizing or disrespecting the relationship.
- I feel free enough in my relationship with my partner.
- My partner feels free enough in relationship with me.
- If not, we both, or the person who does not, have other ways of feeling free outside the relationship without jeopardizing or disrespecting the relationship.
- I feel joy within my relationship with my partner.
- My partner feels joy within his or her relationship with me.
- If not, we both, or the person who does not, have other ways of feeling joy outside the relationship without jeopardizing or disrespecting the relationship.
When finished, schedule a time to discuss your results and possible solutions to your unchecked areas or where you answered differently. You can post any questions below or send me an IM if you prefer privacy.