February is often called the month of love and romance. In honor of this, I want to share some tips for creating healthy relationships. One of the foundational elements for good relationships is for each person to know what their needs are. Many people, especially care-takers, don't take time to figure our what they really want and need in a relationship. Needs are qualities and attributes that you absolutely must have in a relationship - these are the deal-breakers if not met. Wants are qualities that you would prefer, but can do without.
For example, you might discover that you need your partner to support your religious beliefs and want your partner to share your beliefs. In other words, you would be satisfied if your partner has differing religious beliefs as long as he/she will support you and your spiritual beliefs. Others may decide that they need their partner to share the same religious beliefs. There are no right or wrong answers - it's just important that you spend some time to identify your needs and wants for your relationships (friends, family, spouse/partner).
In addition to knowing your needs, it is your responsibility to communicate these needs to your partner, friend, or family member. You cannot expect that people will automatically know what you need and how to give it to you. It is unfair to ask others to be mind readers and somehow “know” what you need. If your needs are not being met in a relationship, then it is up to you to ask for what you need.