According to a mentor of mine, there are five primary emotions:
1. The need for Love
2. The need for Comfort
3. The need for Justice
4. The need for Validation
5. The need for Respect
These primary emotions can not be subdivided. They are at the core of what drives us. When you are angry, sad, lonely, upset, and so forth, it is usually because underneath these secondary emotional needs, one of the 5 primary emotional needs is not met.
When one primary emotional need is met, usually moments, maybe hours later, another need will arise. Accepting that you have emotional needs is the first step. Accepting that these needs will be met momentarily... and allowing that another need will arise shortly afterwards is the key to contentment. Attempting to deny that you have these needs, thinking these needs will always be met once they are, is where life can begin to feel sour.
Within coupledome, Sara will become angry, because one of her primary emotional needs is not met. While Jacob becomes inflamed, because one of his primary emotional needs is not being met. The key to fulfillment within the relationship is recognizing which need you are struggling with and expressing this. For example, Jacob has the need for comfort, while Sara has the need for validation. In the middle of a fight, Jacob may reach to hug Sara, assuming she has the same need has him. Stop! Sara does not want to be hugged. That is not her need. Her primary emotional need is to be heard; to be validated. Sara will also need to step outside her comfort zone, voice her own need, while honoring Jacob’s very different and seperate need, the need for comfort. Once the two have bridged the gap of their needs while meeting the others, we have relational fulfillment.
So, when you are struggling with a secondary emotion, anger, loneliness, sadness, jealousy, and so forth, think to yourself, ‘What need is not being met underneath the secondary need?’ 'Aha, he did not take out the trash, I always have to take out the trash... That is unfair.' So, the need for justice is not met. Watch that need, tolerate its existence, and accept that it may end up not being fulfilled. Then try to express that need anyways. Ask your partner to speak to that need for fairness and then we are getting somewhere, e.g. "I apologize. That is unfair of me to expect you to always take out the trash."
Do not expect marriage, a relationship, a job, a hobby to fulfill these emotions permanently. Fulfillment is transient and in accepting this we find contentment, because we are accepting the human condition. Voila! Therein is the secret ingredient to remaining content in relationships and life.