How to Communicate Your Needs to Your Spouse

It’s better to communicate your needs to your spouse than say nothing at all.

We all have needs within a relationship. The need for connection, love, and physical intimacy are strong within romantic relationships. But so is the need for clear and honest communication, follow-through on promises, and spending quality time together. And then we get down to the nitty gritty needs such as a woman’s need to have the toilet seat down, and a man’s need to leave his underwear on the floor.

There are some needs we can meet on our own which can strengthen the relationship. Pursuing our own interests, developing friendships outside of the relationship, and nurturing and pampering ourselves are a few of the ways. But there are some needs in a marriage that if left unmet, can fester into resentment.

If we don’t communicate our needs to our spouse, it can create a wall so high that we can’t see each other over it. Our spouse may not be able to or willing to meet our particular needs, but we have a better chance of getting them met if we ask for what we want. Here are some suggestions for doing that.

Be Clear About Your Needs

Before you communicate your needs to your spouse, be clear about what you really want and why you want it. Ask yourself the following questions:

What are your needs? Make a list of your needs within the relationship and identify if they are extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not very important.

What underlies your needs? Explore your needs to see what they truly represent. For some, the need for sex isn’t about fun and pleasure; it’s an expression of love and without it, they feel unloved. For others, the need to have a spouse call if they are going to be late isn’t about timing and dinner, it’s about feeling safe, secure and worry free.

Can you honor any needs on your own? One way to improve your relationship is to honor your own needs. For example, if you have the need for touch, but your spouse doesn’t, perhaps arranging for a weekly or monthly massage with a local massage therapist or practitioner would soothe you? If you’re feeling lonely or longing for connection, spending time with close friends may satisfy this.

What gets triggered when the need is not met? Another way to become clear about your needs is to notice what thoughts, emotions and memories get triggered when they are not met. If your spouse doesn’t give you a hug when he comes home from work, do you feel sad or angry? Does it stir up memories of being neglected by your parents? As you bring awareness to the pain of your unmet needs, you can heal old wounds.

What are your spouse’s needs? Sometimes when our needs are not met, we forget to take care of our spouses needs. Are you expressing love in a way your spouse can appreciate? Is there something special you can do for your spouse? As you give, you will receive.

Once you are clear about your needs and their significance, it’s time to communicate with your spouse.

How to Communicate Your Needs

How and when you communicate your needs is as important as what you say. Explore the following suggestions.

Choose an appropriate time. If you want to communicate clearly and have your spouse hear you, choose a time when you both feel calm and balanced. Don’t dump your issues on your spouse the minute he comes home from a long day at work. Don’t ask for intimacy when it’s obvious your spouse wants some alone-time for herself. Be wise about when you ask for your needs to be met.

Communicate from a centered space. It’s easier to be heard and understood when we communicate from a balanced, centered space than it is if we are in a place of judgment, blame and criticism. The latter will only trigger defensiveness or attack in your spouse. If you are upset about an unmet need, wait until you’ve had a chance to process your feelings before you communicate. Otherwise you will spew charged emotions all over your spouse, which will muddy the water.

Express your feelings within the need. Explain to your partner why you have this need and how you are affected when it is not met. Stay away from finger-pointing, but instead own your emotions and reactions around the need. For example, instead of saying “You never ask me how I’m doing! You don’t hug me when I’m upset,” try, “I feel neglected and sad when you don’t ask me how I am at the end of the day. I miss connecting with you. If I’m upset, it really helps to soothe me if you give me a hug.” Communicating honestly from your heart will elicit compassion in your partner and lead to a better resolution.

Initiate what you need. Instead of waiting for your spouse to hug you, or ask you how you’re doing, or plan a romantic getaway, or make dinner, initiate the activity and ask them to join you. If you want physical connection; hug or touch your spouse. If you want to talk; initiate a conversation. If you want dinner; start making it or ask your spouse to make it. If you want some romance; plan something romantic. In the end, what’s more important: who initiated it, or the experience of it?

Don’t let your needs fester in the closet. Bring them out, dust them off and share them with your spouse. This in itself will bring dialogue, connection and intimacy into the relationship.

Do you have any questions or further insights on how to communicate your needs to your spouse? Please share below, I’d love to hear from you.

Click Here for a Complimentary Audio Session on Experiencing True Compassion by Gini Grey

Click Below for a Complimentary Report on How to Save Your Marriage Without Marriage Counseling

Fix Your Marriage

Dear Readers,

I am not able to be on the computer much these days due to my current activities, so I won't be able to respond to comments very often.

I encourage you though, to use the comment section as a place to share your experience, read about others' and to respond to and support each other with your situations.

Take care,


This entry was posted in Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to Communicate Your Needs to Your Spouse

  1. Jeana says:

    I have tried initiating many times, but he doesn’t get the message. When he initiates a hug, it shows he still cares and attracted enough to want to touch me. We seem to have been in a cycle of no hugs initiated by him, some emotional eating on my part, obvious weight gain, and possible lack of attraction on his part because of weight gain on my part. I have been afraid to ask for fear that he will see me as weak (being a typical female; like that is a sin). He will even give me the third degree about why I am watching a particular tv show and wants me to prove the value of watching it. That made me mad and sad at the same time. I watch educational programs and true stories. He watches programs mainly for entertainment. We seldom sit beside each other and watch tv unless I come sit beside him and watch his tv show. I would have to move his legs so there is room to sit beside him and he doesn’t invite me to sit beside him. I got the third degree recently so I went to a different tv. He will do things when family or friends ask. He will go walking with them, not when I ask. I then think he doesn’t want to be seen out walking with me. That is why it is hard to ask him things because I have tried and I don’t seem to be as important as everyone else. Also if I ask him, he will do it once and then I will have to wait months and/or I will have to initiate and continue the cycle. It is a frustrating and depressing cycle. Well I need to start my exercises and relaxation/meditation program now. Thank you for your ear.

  2. Gini Grey says:

    Hello Jeana,

    The situation with your husband does sound like a frustrating and depressing cycle. I’m not sure how long you’ve been together, but I’ve seen this type of cycle happen when couples have been together for many years. They don’t see each other with fresh eyes and they take each other for granted.

    As well, your husband may be going through something or experiencing low self-esteem, which would explain why he judges your tv preferences etc.

    While you can’t force your husband to change, initiate or pay more attention to you, you can do these things for yourself. One thing that can happen in relationships is when one partner feels powerless – believing that until their spouse shifts, they will be unhappy. What I’ve discovered is that when the spouse that wants change (you) starts to enjoy life in their own way (ignorning your husband’s 3rd degree, finding new interests, feeling good about yourself no matter how he treats you, filling yourself with the vibration of love and so on) they are not as affected by their spouse’s behavior, and in time their spouse starts to pay more loving attention to them because they are glowing with their own inner happiness.

    Here are a couple of articles I recommend reading to boost your self-love:

    ~ Self Love

    ~ Love Yourself to Receive Love

    ~ Increase Self Love with Your Intention

    Take care,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>