Couple Parity- Some “guessing” to Learn More about Yourself and your Partner

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  2. By Dr Jerry Smith EdD
  3. Couple Parity- Some “guessing” to Learn More about Yourself and your Partner
Couple Parity- Some “guessing”  to Learn More about Yourself and your Partner

Couple Parity- Some “guessing” to Learn More about Yourself and your Partner

For many of you interested in PARITY in your relationship, exploring your needs and the needs of your partner is worth some time. Following is an exercise that can be useful to learn more about yourself and your partner. You can do this exercise alone, but it will be more rewarding if your partner joins you.


What is involved here is making some guesses about your personality as well as guesses about your partner’s personality. I’ll list and describe 14 needs we all have to some degree. None are unhealthy. That is a major reason I think this exercise can be useful.


The 14 needs are:


Achievement - a need to accomplish tasks well


Deference - a need to conform to customs, and defer to others


Order - a need to plan well and be organized


Exhibition - a need to be the center of attention in a group


Autonomy - a need to be free of responsibilities & obligations that are not your own


Affiliation - a need to form strong friendships


Intraception - a need to analyze behaviors and feelings of others


Succorance -  a need to receive support and attention from others


Dominance - a need to be a leader and influence others


Abasement - a need to accept blame for problems and confess errors to others


Nurturance - a need to be of assistance to others


Change - a need to seek new experiences and avoid routine


Endurance - a need to follow through on tasks and complete assignments


Aggression - a need to express your opinion directly and be critical of others


These “needs” are from a psychological test I have often used:



Now the next step is  the one that can be most useful to you and your partner.

Take a sheet of paper and give yourself a number between one and ten to the following questions. Don’t hurry selecting a number, but instead give yourself time to think this over. A score of 10 is the top, and of course 1 is minimal.

If you did all the steps in this exercise it would total 84 decisions. I think that is too many. Rather than doing all 84, I suggest you and your partner have an agreement that either one of you can skip one or many of the 84 questions. If the other person really wants to not skip it, discuss it and maybe do it after all. Couples who have PARITY are particularly good at making decisions together. That is one of the ways they maintain their PARITY.


The questions are:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10 what number would you give yourself on each of the 14 needs?

  2. What number would you give yourself on how you would IDEALLY LIKE to be on each of  the 14 needs?

For a personal example, I scored myself at 2 on my need for order. I have justified this score by believing I’ve saved a lot of time by often not putting things away, and instead relying on my memory. My justification, at times, has collapsed. Occasionally, my short cut of minimal order has resulted in losing important papers. Ideally, I’d probably net out saving time if my order score          were at 5. But given my priorities, I can’t picture pushing my need for order up to 8, 9, or 10.

  1. What score would your partner give to himself or herself on each of the needs?

  2. What score would you guess your partner would give herself or himself, if that ideal  number is different from the number in question 3?

  3. Given your experience with your partner, what number would you     give him or her on each of the needs.

  4. If you could control your partner (not a good idea !!), what number     would you wish for with each of the needs listed above.


There is wisdom to the view that couples get together by way of their similarities, but they develop depth and resiliency by way of

how well they deal with their DIFFERENTNESS. Responding to differentness well means NO ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THE PARTNER. You're setting out to change your partner will probably lead to a bickering relationship. Thus, the end of COUPLE PARITY, and the rewards you seek in having an equal partner.


When you discuss your guesses about yourself and your partner, you might use the following questions as a guide:

How do feel about your guesses for yourself? Are there any surprises?

How does your guess about your needs effect your life?

How does your guess about your needs effect your relationship with your partner?

In your guesses, or scores,  about your partner’s needs,

how did you come about choosing the number you choose?

Is there anything you want to do about any of the scores for yourself or for your partner?


This exercise can be serious, but I also hope you decide to make it a light exploration giving you only some slants on your make up that are useful, as well as some additional perspectives of your partner.

Your relationship is far more complicated than a collection of 14 needs, but think about this listing of needs as separate “windows” into your personality, as well as your partner’s personality.

I hope this exercise has been useful to you and your partner.