The Three Essential Needs of Any Relationship


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Essential Need in a Relationship

For a healthy relationship to exist, there must be three ingredients: attraction, love, and trust. But in addition to that, there are three needs you need met in order for you to feel fulfilled and emotionally healthy in any particular relationship. These needs are basic to your emotional health and the other person in the relationship. This is true for a marriage, for a parent, for a child, for a friend, or for any relationship in your life.

I Corinthians 12 speaks of these three essential needs. Examining what makes up the Body of Christ, we see that all of these relationships require the following three needs for fulfillment and satisfaction.

  1. You need to feel wanted (1 Corinthians 12:14-19)
  2. You need to feel needed (1 Corinthians 12:20-22)
  3. You need to feel appreciated (1 Corinthians 12:23-26)

Please don’t assume that these three needs are similar. They aren’t. A person can feel appreciated, but not needed or wanted. A person can feel wanted, but not needed or appreciated.

For example, I could WANT a candy bar, but I don’t NEED it, nor do I really APPRECIATE it as I may take the candy bar for granted. In this case it is complete urge or desire. Now, I could NEED vegetables, but neither APPRECIATE them nor WANT them. I can also APPRECIATE a fancy and expensive car, but have no NEED for it nor WANT it.

The same things can happen in any relationship–particularly marriage. I know of husbands that appreciate all their wives do, express gratitude, but really don’t feel that they need it and nor do they really want it. In some cases, I have counseled wives that feel they need their husbands, but only in such a utility way that they don’t desire to be with them nor appreciate all they do. Let’s look at each one and, if you will, allow me to give you some good advice.


This is not the same thing as feeling needed. There is a difference and it is an essential need that everyone has. You can want what you don’t need and you can need what you don’t want. Just ask any kid. Part of the problem is that we are unwilling to ask for help of those who would actually love to help us.

Learn to ask for help. It’s okay to show “weakness” in this area–especially around your spouse. If your spouse thinks, “He wants me!” It gives her purpose, reason, and even direction. If your friend believes he is wanted, he will be more engaged. No one like to be around people who clearly don’t want them.

But if your spouse or friend thinks, “She doesn’t want me.” Then they will grow frustrated and discouraged. It is possible that you NEED help and would APPRECIATE it if you got it, but you don’t WANT it.

Let me ask you another question. You have talents don’t you? Don’t you enjoy employing those talents on behalf of someone who wants it? Of course you do! Sometimes, when you try to force your help on someone, they resent it. In such a case you feel unwanted.

Learn to ask your spouse for help. Prove that you want them!

Some Good Advice:
  • Don’t worry about showing a weakness in front of the people God gave you. Ask for their help.
  • Even if you don’t need something, it never hurts to ask for it to show that you want them.
  • Ask for advice from your mate, friends, parents, and children, even if you already know the answer.


There has never been a God-ordained relationship where the principles in the relationship have no need of each other. Let’s take a marriage as an example. If such a situation exists where you don’t need each other, then you don’t have a mate, you have a roommate. It is essential that you convince your mate that you need him/her.

In fact, you may want to make it a rule never to say, “I don’t need you!” That is very damaging to a relationship psychology. If you don’t need your spouse or friend, they will begin to feel like they are useless, unwanted, and unnecessary. Many divorces occur because of this, and many friendships have faded into obscurity as a result.

Relationships exist for many reasons, but one of the more important reasons is because it is the people in these relationships that help make up for your weaknesses. It is actually quite amazing how God often pairs people together who need each other–including marriage. Often your weaknesses are the other person’s strengths. In truth, you need people!

Some Good Advice:
  • Constantly be looking for ways to express how much you need the people God has sent into your life.
  • Don’t assume that they know. Tell them.
  • Pinpoint the strengths your spouse and your friends have and consult with them in those areas. Follow their advice!


Mankind has a need to feel appreciated. It is an essential need. We are just made that way. Everyone likes it when someone recognizes your labor, your effort, your time, or your investment. It becomes very frustrating to work for someone who never seems to notice what you do. Oh, they might need your work, they might even want it, but they don’t seem to care.

One mistake that we make with children is that we give them more attention when they mess up then when they do right. Some children will do wrong just to get their parents’ attention. This can happen in any relationship. In a marriage, for example, a wife can keep the house clean six out of seven days, but on that last day, she fails and the husband lets her know about it. Why could the husband not praise her for the six successful days?

If you praise someone for their effort, they will tend to duplicate the effort. Why? Because it was noticed and appreciated. The appreciation was fulfilling an essential need.

So what is wrong with writing thank you notes to the people in your life? When is the last time you thanked your husband for going to work? When is the last time you did something special for your wife simply because she took care of the kids? When is the last time you showed appreciation for your children? When has your friends felt appreciated by you?

When you begin taking things for granted, it will have a negative impact on your relationships. It amazes me that a man will go to unusual lengths when he is dating his future wife, but after he gets her, the dates stop, the notes stop, and the flowers stop coming.

Prove your appreciation!

Some Good Advice:
  • Write notes of appreciation to the people in your life.
  • Take the time to be with them and show appreciation.
  • Do special things on non-special days. (ex. Such as bringing flowers to your wife on a random day, just to tell her you appreciate her.)
  • Say the words, “Thank you.” Even for little things.
  • Look for things that people in your life do on a regular basis, things you simply expect, and thank them for it.

Christian author and relationship expert, specializing in adding The Divine Ingredient to every aspect of life to make life all the more enjoyable.

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