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EP8 Relationship Reality Check: How Much Fun Are You To Live With?

"It’s time for you to realize the power you have in your relationship." - Dr. Phil

Phil's in the Blanks

“The formula for a successful relationship is: The quality of a relationship is a function of the extent to which it is built on a solid underlying friendship and meets the needs of the TWO people involved.”

Understand that you have needs in a number of different life categories, and that a certain number of these needs can be met only by other human beings. Just as important as understanding that you have complex needs is a realization that the word "need" is not a synonym for weakness. Rest assured that the fact that you have needs, and that you must rely on another person to meet them, is a good and healthy thing. This formula for relationship success doesn't work just some of the time — it works all the time. If you are completely happy in your relationship, but your partner simply is not, then you can bet that your partner's needs are not being met. If your partner is happy and you are not, it's your needs that are unmet. If your partner is not meeting one of your needs, that is your responsibility. It is also very unfair to criticize your partner for not recognizing and meeting your needs when you don't know them yourself. Your partner can't read your mind; he or she can't guess what your needs are. The only chance your partner will ever have of connecting with you and responding to your needs depends upon your teaching your partner what really makes you tick. To make this formula work in your life, you've got two vitally important, complex, and dangerous jobs to complete:

Job One: Make your needs known, including those at the deepest level.

Allow yourself to feel that it is natural, it is OK, to have needs in general, and to have your specific needs in particular. Don't think you have to justify or explain the why behind any of your needs. If you feel the need, that is enough. Your needs are not right or wrong, good or bad — they just are. There are five categories of needs: Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Social, and Security. Keep in mind that you cannot share with or teach your partner what you don't know yourself. Get real with yourself to give the formula for relationship success a chance. The following list is intended to stimulate your thoughts about the particular needs that are specific to you. Please remember that, because they are general, the listed needs should be considered as simply a place to start. You should be very specific about your own needs, to the point of including such details as time, place, frequency, and means of expression, as appropriate. As you come to an item that you think reflects a need within you, circle that item. At this point, don't worry about how you expect your partner to respond to these needs. Just identify them so that you can communicate them.

Building Your Personal Profile


1. The need to feel, and be told, that you are loved

2. The need to feel, and be told, that you are a valued, vital part of your partner's life

3. The need to feel a sense of belonging to and with your partner

4. The need to feel respected as an individual

5. The need to feel needed for other than the tasks you perform (providing money, cooking, etc.)

6. The need to feel that you are a priority in your partner's life

7. The need to feel special, above everyone else in your partner's life

8. The need to feel that your partner is proud to call you his or her own

9. The need to feel that you are trusted as a responsible partner

10. The need to feel that your partner would choose you again

11. The need to feel that you have and can be forgiven for transgressions and flaws

12. The need to feel accepted, flaws, fallacies, and all

13. The need to feel that you and your partner are, above all else, close and trusted friends

14. The need to feel desired

15. The need to feel appreciated for who and what you are and do

16. The need to feel passion between you and your relationship partner


1. The need to be touched and caressed

2. The need to be kissed, even if casually

3. The need to be hugged or held

4. The need to feel that you are welcome in your partner's personal space

5. The need to be physically welcomed when encountering your partner

6. The need to feel that you are part of a couple when interacting with the world

7. The need to feel encouraged and welcomed by nonverbal communications

8. The need for tenderness

9. The need for a satisfying and rewarding sexual life


1. The need to feel that your personal spiritual values are supported without judgment

2. The need to feel that your partner respects your spiritual needs

3. The need to share a spiritual life, even if that spiritual life is experienced differently by you and your partner

4. The need to know and feel that your individual beliefs and differences are respected, if not shared


1. The need to be remembered with calls and acknowledgments when apart

2. The need to feel that your partner will plan and structure his or her activities to include you

3. The need to feel that social activities are shared rather than experienced individually

4. The need for appropriate tenderness and support when in public

5. The need to be encouraged and supported physically and emotionally when in public

6. The need to hear sweet things in a social environment

7. The need to be encouraged and supported in social situations

8. The need to be treated with politeness and regard in social situations

9. The need to share fun and joy in social situations

10. The need to share a connection expressed through awareness and sensitivity from your partner

11. The need to share joy and laughter

12. The need to feel that you are the most important person in your partner's life and awareness when in a crowded, busy social environment


1. The need to know that your partner will stand by you in times of distress or conflict

2. The need to feel that your partner will rally to your aid if needed

3. The need to feel input and control with regard to the emotional aspects of the relationship

4. The need to be supported by your partner

5. The need to know that your partner is loyal and committed 6. The need to know that your relationship will not be put at risk and hang in the balance because of any disagreements and confrontations

7. The need to know that your partner is committed permanently 8. The need to know that your partner is there for you in times of third-party conflicts and problems

9. The need to know that your partner is your soft place to fall

Job Two: Work to discover the needs of your partner.

How well do you know your partner? After taking Dr. Phil's "Partner Awareness Quiz," take a closer look at your relationship keeping in mind these two fundamental truths:

1) You cannot meet your partner's needs if you don't know what they are.

2) You cannot know what your partner's needs are if you don't know your partner.

Here are just some of the questions Dr. Phil suggests you answer in order to reflect on who your partner is with a fresh eye and strengthen your connection. Don't enlist your partner's help, and have the courage to be honest in your answers. Family History

  • How did your partner get his/her name?

  • Does your partner consider his/her age an issue? In what way

  • What's his/her maternal relationship like? Does your partner consider it an asset or liability?

  • What is the best feature of his/her paternal relationship? The biggest problem?

  • How does your partner handle problems with his/her mother and father?

  • Does your partner consistently treat siblings with dignity and respect?

  • Do you consider your partner's relationship with his/her family to be healthy?

  • What are the biggest strengths in their relationships? Weaknesses

Relationship Sketch

  • To create a mini-profile of the relationship between your partner's parents, try to answer these questions.

  • Is the relationship characterized by lots of affection, or is it more standoffish?

  • Do disagreements escalate into all-out war? How would you characterize their style of conflict?

  • Have your partner's parents been faithful to each other?

  • What kind of home environment have they created?

Your Partner's Other Relationships

  • Who are your partner's best friends?

  • Generally speaking, what is your partner's attitude toward the opposite sex?

  • What kind of people does your partner not like?

  • Has your partner ever been betrayed?

  • What kind of social life and pattern does your partner prefer?

  • Is your partner liked by his/her peers?

Your Partner's Attitude of Approach

  • Is your partner more participative or passive?

  • Is your partner courageous or does he/she play the game of life with sweaty palms?

  • Generally speaking, is your partner lazy or industrious?

  • What does your partner think is funny? Offensive?

Your Partner's Frustration Set

  • What are your partner's greatest frustrations on the job? At home? Dealing with family?

  • How competitive is your partner?

  • Name three or four of your partner's pet peeves.

  • Does your partner feel appreciated?

Success, Failure and Loss

  • How does your partner define success?

  • What have been your partner's greatest successes in life? Greatest failures?

  • Can your partner apologize when wrong?

Occupational and Financial Concerns

  • If your partner could choose a different job, what would it be?

  • How satisfied with his/her work is your partner?

  • Is your partner financially responsible?

Mind and Body Issues

  • How intelligent is your partner?

  • How does your partner feel about his/her appearance?

  • What are your partner's favorite foods?

Principles and Priorities

  • Does your partner have and commit to principles?

  • In what area of your partner's life does he/she excel?

  • About what is your partner passionate?

  • What does your partner's spiritual life consist of?


Kathryn Hayes
Kathryn Hayes
Dec 15, 2019

Ojo Eira, I have that same opinion and question. I would love for Dr. Phil to add some episodes covering this issue. In my 46-year marriage our sex life has many components which I have not seen/heard covered here or elsewhere. I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor with lymphedema and zero sex drive. And about 25 years before cancer of attempting to find a compromise between my spouse's desire for an adventurous sex life and my wishes for the more mundane.


Ojo Eira
Ojo Eira
Dec 14, 2019

This relationship series is fantastic. It has helped to gain a little more insight to myself as well as the people I held captive in my carpool (playing the podcast to over and over). Got to give them some real truth and common sense advice by any means necessary, lol. Fortunately we are all fans.

The personal profile is also fantastic for insight and getting on the same page with your partner, friends, or anybody with which one has a relationship. I take issue with the physical needs section of the personal profile guide. If I build my profile out in the 5 areas, physical would maybe be the occasional hug. I see nothing wrong with sex; have all y…

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