Top 10 Emotional Needs in Marriage

The bond of love between a husband and wife is special because of the “one flesh” intimacy that God has given us. In a joyful marriage, love is expressed and experienced in a romantic way, a friendship way and an unconditional, sacrificial way. The goal for marriage should be to keep all these expressions of love strong and in good balance. If your love is strong, there will be minimal conflict in your marriage.

Keeping the love vibrant and alive is very important, yet it doesn’t just happen. There needs to be a more intentional effort. Take advantage of special moments with your spouse to share hugs and kisses, and to tell each other “I love you” daily. It is amazing how meaningful these simple little gestures can be in keeping the loving feelings alive in your marriage.

Inside each of us is an emotional love tank that yearns to be filled. The person that has the greatest impact on filling or draining our love tank is our spouse. In marriage, we can do things unintentionally that impact our spouse’s love tank because we each give and receive love in different ways. In his book, His Needs, Her Needs, Willard F. Harley, Jr. identifies 10 emotional needs that often exhibit themselves in marriage. There are many ways we can express love to our spouse in order to meet their emotional needs, but if we want to have the best impact on filling their love tank, we need to identify what speaks love to them the most.

Here are the 10 emotional needs that Harley has identified as being most important:

  • Admiration
  • Affection
  • Sex
  • Conversation
  • Family support
  • Financial security
  • Honesty
  • Help around the house
  • Recreation
  • Maintaining our physical attractiveness

Different people give stronger value to one emotional need over another. Your spouse probably has emotional needs that vary from your own. Ask your spouse to identify and rank which of the 10 emotional needs would be in their top 5 and share what your 5 would be. See how well they match up and where they differ. Once you identify what is most important to your spouse, become more intentional about loving your spouse by meeting their most important needs.