Remember when you had the itch in the middle of your back; that one area that you can’t reach with either hand to scratch? You asked your spouse to scratch it, and inevitably their first attempt missed. Did you tell your spouse that they hit the spot by saying something like, “Oh sweet, you got it! Thanks!” No, of course not—you gave directions. Move up a little, now left, scratch a bit harder, and move down a smidge.

This is like the game Battleship. You keep trying until you hit the mark.

Why didn’t you pretend? Because you had a legitimate need, a willing partner, and you anticipated the moment of success.

A legitimate need. Recognize that you have legitimate needs. If you’re too busy attending to everyone else’s needs, take the time to identify your own needs, then ask for them to be met. Are you working very hard to deny that you have any needs at all?

Admit it, some needs are legitimate, and every person has them, even you!

A willing partner. Are you assuming your spouse isn’t willing to fulfill your need, so you don’t bother to ask? You could be completely wrong! The Bible states in Matthew 7:7 to, “Ask and it will be given to you.” How would you act if you believed your spouse was willing? You’d hopefully invite rather than demand, give information only you could provide—with incremental instructions until…

The moment of success! Ahhhhh, oh YEAH, you got it! That moment when your spouse meets your physical,emotional, spiritual, or relational need bringing comfort, connection, resolution, satisfaction, joy, and relief! It’s so good that you won’t hesitate to ask again.

Many of my clients have me so delighted because they are learning to ask skillfully and respond artfully—and enjoying deep connection because of it!

Why not incorporate a game of Battleship into your next alone time or discussion, using simple nudges to help your spouse understand what you need, and visa-versa. It could be a fun way to communicate with each other until the target is hit.

You can do this!