licensed marriage and family therapist

Attention, Approval & Support

Excerpt from Chapter 2 Overdate

There have been many books written about the basic human needs, and If you have ever taken an introductory course in Psychology, you probably have heard of “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Human Needs? These include everything from Physiological needs such as Food, Water, Warmth and rest to Self-esteem needs. I want to give you a very simple exercise that you can do with your partner to understand their basic needs in their relationship with you. One of the first assignments I give in couples counseling is to find out what exactly does your partner wants and desires from you in the area of attention, approval and support? And what do you want and desire from your partner?

Most of the time, couples have some sort of idea of what their partner likes as far as food, material items and hobbies, but when it comes down to the little things that light the spark that ignites a fire in your relationship, those areas lay dormant, forgotten or neglected.


Attention: maybe you would like your partner to pay particular attention to the way you dress, or you would like them to give you a hug on the way out the door or when you come home.

Approval: Some partners enjoy it when they are validated by an accomplishment they may have achieved, or just acknowledging that you agree with them on a subject can symbolize approval. Let me highlight that many people have deep wounds in this area, especially that could have happened in childhood from their family of origin

Support: The act of being supportive to your partner is invaluable. My wife has been the greatest source of support in me going back to school; I could not have done it without her. Trust me, you know more than you think in this area of Attention, Approval, and support; you just need to be reminded. Remember when you first met? On your first dates, your heart was beating out of your chest, you hoped that moment would last forever. You knew how to spark that fire that captured your partner’s heart, that made them feel like they were the only thing that mattered in this life. The late-night talks on the phone (now it’s a text messagingJ), dinner, and movie dates, you get the picture. We need to re- capture this, and I’m gonna show you how to do this, so read, pay attention and then take action.

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