Nutritional Needs of Relationships

Just as our bodies need certain amounts of vitamins and nutrients to remain healthy, our relationships have needs, which if not met, will cause it to deteriorate and perhaps die.

The “nutritional” needs of a relationship are:

  • Communication
  • Physical Intimacy
  • Recreation
  • Spiritual Growth

How much effort do you put forth to ensure the needs of your mate are being satisfied? Notice that I didn’t say your needs. You might only need 10 minutes of physical intimacy each week; however, only 10 minutes for your mate would mean starvation.

Successful relationships require some degree of compromise. Yes, compromise may require some encroachment on one’s personal freedom, but if you aren't providing nutritional needs for your spouse/significant other, he or she will either wither away in the relationship or try to find “nutrition” outside of it.

To discover what your needs are individually and as a couple, take each of the four groups and discuss the various ways you can fulfill the nutritional requirements in your relationship. There’s more than one way to satisfy each category.

Here are a few to get you started.

Communication - a quick phone call from work to “touch base” can help remind you of the priority of your relationship and give you both a sense of continuity. Some people use a phone call during the day as a way to settle family business, so that when they do get home they are freer to simply enjoy each other’s company.

In addition, no matter how well you and your partner discuss your differences, it is normal not to agree on everything. In fact, your differences are probably part of what attracted you to each other in the first place. Recognize that not all problems have to be solved. Sometimes you just need to agree to disagree and be willing to listen to your partner’s point of view.

The most important thing to remember after a disagreement - find the strength to say you’re sorry. It will do wonders at smoothing over the rough feelings left afterward.

Physical intimacy –Spend time alone together to re-ignite the intimacy and romance in your relationship. It will help you remember what brought you together in the first place. It is important to “make” the time to be alone together, because you are unlikely just to “find” it.

Once a week or once a month, schedule the kind of date you had when you were single or before you began your family. Agree not to discuss the children, the in-laws, or finances. Dress up and go out to dinner, see a movie, or spend a “quality” evening at home with the phone turned off. Passionate intercourse, kissing and caressing should never be placed on the back burner.

Recreation - playing card or board games, going out to dinner, gardening, going to concerts or sporting events, golfing, bowling or developing rituals for daily life and holidays. Practice the rituals, as they will enrich your lives by providing stability -- acts of beauty, joy, and tenderness you know you’ll have whenever you are together.

Spiritual Growth - meditating and praying together, attending a small group meeting devoted to spiritual growth, reading a spiritual book together, attending a church, synagogue or mosque will strengthen your bond and faith. There is truth in the statement, "The family that prays together, stays together."

Your relationship will be stronger and more interesting if you give your partner time and space without you. Remember that one person can’t possibly meet all your needs. That is like saying man-made vitamins can replace the vitamins that you get from eating real food. They can't. Both you and your partner must keep and nurture outside friendships and interests.

Above all, believe that if you feel love and commitment for each other, and are willing to grow, you and your partner will keep your relationship fresh, strong, and close. Relationships are vital and flexibility is a positive enhancement.

If you truly want a thriving and healthy relationship, you need to learn the “nutritional” needs of your mate and do your best to fulfill them, amid all the other demands you have on your time and energy.


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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, Georgia's Own Credit Union, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.