The purpose of a relationship is to meet the human need to love and be loved. For many, sex is believed to be the driving force into a relationship, but it is only a small part of the importance of coupling. “Unseens” is the most prominent reason we seek out another with which to bond. The word “Unseen” is not a common term, but a word I chose to explain my own theory of relational counseling. According to me, an “Unseen” is a need that the relationship itself meets for a person who is in that relationship. It is not a need that is met by the other person in that relationship. An example of an “Unseen” is loneliness. A person who feels very lonely when single enjoins another in a relationship and the loneliness evaporates. He or she no longer feels lonely. It would seem that he or she is no longer lonely because of the presence of that other person, but even when that other person is away for long periods of time, like military training or deployment, the other does not feel lonely. It is the relationship that has taken over the lonely feeling. Many who are married for 20 years or more feel no loneliness until the relationship ends due to death or divorce.
The longer two people are in a relationship, the more “Unseens” needs are met. Three more of these “Unseens” are the need to belong, to feel appreciated for who one is, and the need to be acknowledged for what one does are made explicit simply because two people are in a relationship. Neither partner has to express words that meet these needs, though from time to time one might express appreciation verbally or by giving flowers or a card. The point is, when either person never shows appreciation or acknowledgement, the other feels appreciated or acknowledged simply because he or she has a relationship. There are hundreds of “Unseens” that are absorbed in a love relationship that neither person ever has to think about as long as the relationship lasts.
Many strong relationships become marriages because the couple wants to lock in or keep the benefits of these “Unseens.”
Lane A Stokes
Licensed Professional Counselor
Roswell GA 800-989-8037