We’ve said time and again that when it comes to communication in marriage, it is imperative that we truly listen and understand each other’s heart and then honor those inner needs and wants every day. Not only will we have a safe and connected marriage as a result, but we will easily handle conflict when it inevitably arises.

But wait? If we are doing all of those things, conflict shouldn’t exist.

Well, not necessarily. Conflict exists anytime two people interact, and it is not bad in and of itself. How you and your spouse handle it is the important part. So, to continue our ongoing discussion on positive communication, let’s dive a bit deeper into understanding our inner desires or drives so that we can truly see how they play a factor in our negative behaviors.




  1. Love — As humans, it’s not enough to simply love someone else unconditionally. We want to feel that love reciprocated by the person or people we cherish the most. We want our spouse to genuinely care for our well-being and show through their thoughts, words, and actions that they want to give themselves completely to us.


  1. Freedom — We do not want to feel controlled by others because control violates love. But there has to be a healthy balance between the two — a give and take between our spouse and us. We want to live our lives and express our feelings, thoughts, desires, and goals according to what we want, but freedom is never without boundaries.


  1. Significance — This is the desire to do something bigger than ourselves, and to feel important. It is a strong sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. We are one with our spouse, but we are also equally strong and significant as individuals.


  1. Recreation and relaxation — We need time to relax, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally.


  1. Peace with God — Real, inner peace comes only from God. But when we live lives of love, freedom, and significance we can live in peace with those around us, especially our spouse.


When you and your spouse are acutely aware of these five inner needs and drives, a few things will happen:

  • You will both be better equipped to share your feelings rather than hold them in and create resentment.
  • You will look out for each other’s best interests.
  • Each of you will understand other’s behaviors. You will know what drives one other.
  • You will understand how your past responses to negative behavior may have made the problem worse.
  • Each of you will avoid letting negative emotions lead to wrong behaviors. You can both adjust and take a new approach whenever conflicts arise.


Does my spouse have a right to view things differently (and perhaps create conflict)?

Absolutely! But remember it takes consistent work and lots of practice to ensure you are both on the same page — regardless of your differing perspectives or positions.

Couples who see themselves as equals (instead of one being superior or inferior) will seek ways to respect the other’s rights and help that person meet his or her needs and desires.


They will also take responsibility for expressing their individual wants, needs, and desires.

This is the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” perspective, and it leads to a high degree of couple satisfaction.


All we are saying here is that while conflict is inevitable, we can learn to take a more positive approach if we learn to understand each other’s inner needs and desires. This element of positive communication takes time and lots of practice and both spouses must want to be better at it.

Join Mike Dawson for a Masterclass on Communication:  4 BEHIND THE SCENES SECRETS to GREAT COUPLE COMMUNICATION.

Our heart is devoted to caring about people and marriages!

Our heart is devoted to caring about people. We want to ensure you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage. The best way we know how to do that is by spreading the word to more people and let them know that we are here.


Did we leave anything out? How are you currently handling conflict in your marriage? Are you both sharing your inner needs so that those interactions are more positive? How did you both try to fix the misunderstanding? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.