Staying Strong During Divorce: The 6 Basic Human Needs

Staying Strong During Divorce: The 6 Basic Human Needs


I recently had the pleasure of attending a few events that featured famed public speaker, Tony Robbins, and I left with some great insights from a legendary motivational speaker. During his time on stage, he brought up something that I wanted to share here with you regarding the 6 basic human needs and how they can relate to each of us from time to time when it comes to the uncertainties associated with a failing relationship and those of us who have considered, are currently going through or have already gone through a divorce.

The first of the six basic human needs is the need for certainty. Knowing things are taken care of, and that you have a set schedule of familiar expectations from day to day is something we as people living in society crave. Whether the potential outcome is positive or negative, the uncertainty of your relationship and its future is a stress almost all of us have shared at least once or twice in our lives. The need for certainty is essentially one of our most important basic human needs.

On the other hand, we as a human population also have a need for uncertainty. Finding balance in our lives is a constant work in progress. While routine can be a familiar comfort, it can also lead to restlessness and animosity in a relationship. After years of the same daily interactions, the need for spontaneity can surpass the need for familiarity in your personal life, and this can lead to a relationship-changing perspective. Again, it isn’t necessarily about positive or negative outcomes, it’s more about seeking a different outcome than what the norm produces.

The third basic human need is the need to feel significant. We all want to feel like what we are doing here on Earth is something worth doing. We want to feel like what we are doing really matters, whether it is at work, at home, or (especially) in a relationship. People who act out, whether in a good or bad way, are doing so because they are seeking attention and validation for their efforts. Filling that need to feel significant is something we all do to give purpose to our days.

One thing that separates humans from the rest of the animals on Earth is the need to feel love and affection. We feel the need to find a companion to share our lives with, and go to great lengths to find it. Over time, the need for love can evolve into various forms, but the basic need for a reciprocation of feelings and yearning for a companion do not ebb.

From birth to death, we learn more about ourselves and the world around us. We are stimulated by our basic senses to seek out new life experiences and learn from previous ones to continually create the best versions of ourselves that we can imagine. Growth is a basic human need that is often a catalyst for both positive and negative change in relationships every day. This need for growth goes hand in hand with the need for uncertainty as well.

The sixth basic human need is the need for contribution. The ability to fulfill this need can fluctuate from time to time, but the craving to fill this need is persistent. Many times, an individual’s personal life situation can impact just how much they feel like they can give back at any given time. This is true in relationships as well. A marriage cannot be sustained by one person giving their all while the other just takes, takes, takes. This imbalance can lead to marriage failure and divorce.

In representing women with various family law needs, the need for certainty stands out above the rest. Going through a divorce is one of the most traumatic events that we go through as adults. That feeling of the impending uncertainty that comes with the divorce process casts a long shadow over future choices, and can lead to a need for something to feel certain about, even if the outcome wasn’t what was hoped for. It is important for all of us to look inside of ourselves to find out ways to better understand our own needs so that we can lead happier more productive lives.


  1. Bill Hicks 2 years ago

    So glad to see an attorney that considers the entire person and her children. I am currently working with a mom who has been forced into a divorce and her husband started the divorce two years ago and the children are being damaged. I am trying to help them and Mom recover their identities.

    What a mess done by selfish people.

    Bill Hicks, PhD, LMHC

  2. phoenix men 2 years ago

    Great Article. I can relate a lot to this. When it’s over When you split up, you may find it very hard to let go of your ex-partner. This often happens when one partner is keener to end a relationship than the other. If the relationship is really over, learning to let go is important. Just need to busy themselves with activities and surround themselves with good people.

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