What is important in relationships
The importance of significance, certainty & love in relationships
If it’s a healthy relationship you require, one where everyone’s core needs and motivations are both known and met, one of the quickest ways to achieve this is to explore what you both values. When you know what you value in a partner and vice versa, you will more easily recognise when you are and are not receiving or providing it.
Knowing what your top emotional needs are and the order in which they resonate for you will teach you how to govern and express yourself to people. It will give you the capacity to explain why you expect the things you do and perhaps why you behave in ways that may not be easily understandable to other people. It means less guesswork involved and everyone being clear where they stand.
In this article we walk you through the themes of love, significance, certainty and their opposites. The aim is to show you how they each impact the way your relationship functions and how your preferences in these areas will affect your life.
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If you value significance above love and certainty in a relationship, it may mean that status is your overall driver when part of a couple. The relationship events and experiences that phase someone else, such as not being loved unconditionally or not having clear and enforced boundaries around monogamy within a marriage, will not necessarily affect you. The perks that come with holding a significant status in your partner’s life will outweigh these other perceived shortcomings. Feeling special, worthy and wanted, are extremely important to you and are a top priority. The opposite of this is someone who cares little about status, desiring only love and a depth of connection.
This is not to say that people who focus on significance don’t require affection or consistency from a partner, simply that it’s not a core emotional need. They may find what they’re missing in other sources. For example, trophy wives, a flamboyant and lifestyle or anything different from the unsatisfying, love-based relationships they’ve had. It’s important not to spend too much time judging someone who resonates strongly with a need for significance. The core emotional needs that people possess are often rooted in childhood experiences, both conscious and unconscious.
For some, the overriding need in a relationship is that of certainty. Like anything, this can be interpreted in both a positive and negative light. If certainty is a desire that resonates with you, we advise that you fully assess what it is you’re willing to provide and receive in exchange for it. The reason we suggest this is because certainty in a relationship doesn’t always translate to a healthy situation. Whilst it can mean safety and security, it can also mean you’re certain that after a few drinks your partner will become difficult to speak with, or that it’s best not to be open about particular topics because they will be ill-received. In these cases, a core emotional need for certainty is less about having order and more about walking on eggshells.
On the flipside, if you value certainty in a relationship it may be because you find it comforting to know what time a partner will be home every evening, that you will spend your weekends together, or that they will support you no matter what. The opposite of certainty is variety, the desire for surprises, adventure and the unexpected. You may find that you flit between these two ends of the spectrum. Or, have certain parts of the relationship where certainty is a must and variety is not accepted, for example, sexually. Have a think about things and recognise where you’re more naturally drawn.
Most people assume the top core emotional need for everyone in a relationship is love. Love is billed as the heights we all seek to attain, with little that compares or substitutes for it. The truth is, love is valued and offered to different extents in all types of relationship, our desires for it are as varied as the forms in which it appears.
For some, love is indeed the be all and end all. They aspire to give and receive it unconditionally, no matter whether their partner is out of town, rich or poor, attractive or not. For these people, the goal of love is the most important factor in maintaining and pursuing a relationship, it represents unity, connection and intimacy.
As we’ve spoken about, significance is at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to love and core needs. Focusing on how something makes you feel, what it gives to you or what you can get from it, can mean you fall short when forging deep and meaningful bonds. Those who value love could perhaps be said to fare better when building relationships that last, not only the test of time, but which can also withstand the trials and tribulations sure to come along.
Don’t forget, for further help in achieving your relationship goals you can always reach out to Macbeth, the dating introduction agency.