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Great Relatinship Advice: The Ability to Meet Emotional Needs

Harville Hendrix, in his book ``Getting the Love You Want'' has some interesting and helpful notions about the process of falling in love. According to Hendrix, as we fall in love with someone, we believe that this person will be able to meet all of our emotional needs.

But eventually the infatuation wears off and the day-to-day grind sets in. Partners begin to think or even say things such as ``You are not the person I married,'' or ``You're just like your father/mother'' or whatever. Emotional connections start shutting down.

The trick to getting out of this stage of the relationship is to recommit to meeting your partner's emotional needs. Let's illustrate the point with a story.

One night, a man has a dream in which he goes on a tour of heaven and hell. It turns out that hell is this huge banquet room with tables full of food and drink. The people at the tables, however, are all thin and wasting away. It seems that the silverware in hell is about four feet long and can be picked up only at the very end. The people in hell are unable to feed themselves.

So then he visits heaven, which is also a huge banquet room with tables full of food and drink. The silverware is exactly the same as in hell, four feet long and can be picked up only at the very end. The people in heaven, however, are full, content and happy. The simple yet profound difference is that in heaven the people are reaching across the table and feeding each other.

This is the shift that needs to occur if partners are to meet each other's emotional needs.

 

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