This is a question that many people have pondered at one point or another. As human beings, we all have a fundamental need to be loved and understood. This need takes on even greater significance in relationships as we seek to build strong connections with our partners.
When you think about your marriage or relationship with your partner, how do you communicate your thoughts and feelings to each other?
Take, for instance, your recent disagreement or conflicts. How do you typically react to your partner? Were you trying to convey your ideas to be heard and understood, or were you trying to inspire your partner to say something lovingly or send you a gesture of affection?
Individual values, needs, and experiences
When it comes to prioritizing what we value more in our relationships, feeling loved or feeling understood, the answer may not be straightforward. The answer to the question can vary greatly depending on individual values, needs, and experiences. Research has shown that shaping our perspectives on love and relationships stems from our childhood experiences, past relationships, personal beliefs, and cultural norms.
For example, let’s say your partner grew up in a household where emotional expression was discouraged. To survive they may have learned to wall off their feelings and prioritize the feelings of others over their own. In this example, they may have a deep need to feel understood in a relationship, as they may not have had the opportunity to express themselves growing up. On the other hand, when your partner grew up in a household where they were showered with affection and praise, feeling loved in your relationship may place a higher value.
Similarly, if you have experienced trauma or abuse, you may prioritize feeling understood to feel safe and validated. Likewise, when you have experienced rejection or abandonment, you may prioritize feeling loved to feel secure and valued.
Individual values can also play a role in whether we prioritize feeling loved or feeling understood. For example, you who value independence and self-sufficiency may prioritize feeling understood in order to maintain your autonomy. In contrast, your partner who values connection and togetherness may prioritize feeling loved in order to feel more bonded to you.
Feeling Loved provides security, warmth, and connection
Feeling loved provides a sense of security, warmth, and connection, which is a fundamental human need. When we feel loved, we know that someone cares about us deeply and appreciates who we are. This can be especially comforting during times of stress or uncertainty.
There are many ways that we can feel loved in our relationships. Some couples feel loved through physical touches, such as hugs and kisses. Others feel loved through acts of service, such as cooking a meal or doing the laundry. Still, others feel loved through verbal expressions of affection, such as saying “I love you” or leaving sweet notes for their partner. While others feel loved when they spend quality time together. Whatever the form, feeling loved can help to strengthen the bond between couples and create a sense of intimacy and connection.
Feeling understood provides validation, respect, and empathy
Feeling understood is equally important in a healthy relationship, as it provides us with validation, respect, and empathy. When we feel understood, we know that our partner is listening to us and taking our thoughts and feelings seriously. This sense of validation can help us feel more confident and self-assured and can also enhance our ability to communicate effectively with our partners.
There are many ways that we can feel understood in our relationships. Some people feel understood when their partner listens actively and asks questions to clarify their thoughts and feelings. Others feel understood when their partner shares similar experiences or feelings, and can relate to their perspective. Still, others feel understood when their partner acknowledges their feelings, even if they don’t necessarily agree with them.
Understanding the difference between feeling loved and feeling understood
It’s important to understand that feeling loved and understood are not the same. Feeling loved is about being appreciated for who we are, while feeling understood is about having our experiences and emotions validated and respected.
For example, a partner may show love by buying their significant other a gift, but if the recipient doesn’t feel understood, they may feel like the gift missed the mark. On the other hand, a partner may listen attentively to their significant other’s problems, but if they don’t show love in other ways, the significant other may feel like their partner doesn’t care.
Both are essential components of a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Ultimately, the question of whether feeling loved or understood is more important is a distraction..
Without feeling loved, a relationship may lack warmth and connection. Without feeling understood, a relationship may lack validation and respect. It’s also important to recognize that feeling loved and feeling understood are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they often go hand-in-hand, as partners who feel loved are often more receptive to understanding their partner’s perspective, and partners who feel understood are often more likely to express love and affection.
It is important to cultivate both feelings of love and understanding. This involves effective communication, active listening, and expressing your needs and desires in a respectful and constructive manner. By prioritizing both feeling loved and feeling understood, you can create a relationship that is built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.
If you struggle to balance feeling loved and understood in your relationship, seeking relationship and marriage counseling can be incredibly beneficial. While this blog has discussed the essence of feeling loved and understood in your relationship, a marriage counselor and couples therapist can help you and your partner identify areas of conflict and work through them constructively and respectfully. They can provide a safe, supportive environment for a successful marriage counseling session, allowing you to explore and express your feelings, fears, and desires.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help in relationship counseling or take advantage of marriage counseling services. Together, you and your partner can create a relationship that values both feeling loved and feeling understood, and enjoy a happy and fulfilling life together.