Authenticity | Asking Your Partner for What You Need

The most important question to ask may be the hardest to answer.


My husband and I are getting ready to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary, and in these last seven years we’ve had the privilege of investing in younger couples who are earlier along in their relationship journey.  We’ve even had the honor of officiating two weddings together!

One of my husband’s favorite questions to ask these couples is, “What do you need?  Specifically, what do you need from each other?”  We’ve found that this question may be one of the most important questions to ask and one of the hardest to answer.  It’s one thing to courageously name something that you might need for yourself, like encouragement or patience or faith.  It’s an entirely different task to actually name something that you might need from your partner.

 

As we look at the theme of Authenticity over the next several weeks, we’ll explore some of the ways that we can practice the bravest of authenticity with ourselves and others.  If we look at the origins of the word “authentic,” we find such meanings as “genuine,” “coming from the author,” and “original.”  The sense is that we are true to what is real. 

 

Within relationships, we are meant to need things from each other.  But how often do we convince ourselves otherwise?  How often do we tell ourselves that needing is selfish, narcissistic, sinful, codependent or shameful?  In reality, how often are we actually saying, “Needing means I have to be vulnerable?”  If we are looking at how to come back to what is real, genuine and authentic in our relationships, then we will inevitably find ourselves coming back to what we need from each other.

 

With the theme of Authenticity, my encouragement is going to be to take one step toward what is real.  Doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” that step may seem; it’s a step.  What is the step you can take today toward authentically communicating your needs with your partner?  Maybe your step is simply identifying your needs, maybe it’s asking your partner for understanding as you sort this all out, or maybe it’s something else.

 

Let’s chase after all that is possible and authentic.

 

With you and for you,

Alair 

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

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Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT#86504)

858.634.0302 | therapy@alairolson.com