Excerpt from An online Course: Where God puts two hearts in a home.
Most people when they prepare to get married there is this assumption that marriage is the solution to all their needs…a hero, an admirable lifestyle, a loving spouse etc. When one places the burden of ones needs on a partner, one causes the marriage to bear a very heavy burden that it was not designed to carry. What‘s worse, when marriage is not able to carry the burden, one feels disillusioned… If my spouse cannot love me in the way I need, who else will? This makes one to feel betrayed, hopeless and unlovable.
So what can you do with those needs?
- Give up in despair.
- Look for someone else to meet them.
- Live in constant disappointment, polishing a martyr‘s halo.
- Become bitter and cynical.
None of these things is the right answer.
As Christians, we don‘t place burdens on each other like that, do we? No, sometimes for Christians it is even worse! Your image of how a Christian husband or wife should meet your needs may be even loftier than similar expectations of your counterparts in the world. You want your spouse to not only meet both society‘s and your image of a good spouse but also to be like Christ—or at least like your favorite hero or heroine of the faith. You expect agape love all the time. Even though you may struggle with sin and selfishness, you are amazed and disappointed when your spouse turns out to be just another weak and flawed human being who cannot fully meet your needs. So then you are doubly disappointed. You may even be like Adam and be disappointed with God for giving you a flawed spouse (Gen 3:12).
In my own marriage, I am blessed that my husband loves me and also loves God. But he is not perfect and sometimes he does very imperfect things and has imperfect reactions to my needs. In the first years of our marriage, his imperfections made me feel very insecure. How was I to respect him (Eph 5:23-33) if he seemed at times to be so unChristlike? Should I not expect him to meet all my needs, just as the church looks to Christ for all her needs? I was even unconsciously viewing my relationship with God as existing mainly through my husband, just as Christ is the mediator for the church. This put a terrible burden on Tom because he wanted to live up to my impossible standards of being Christ in my life.
It has taken twenty-five years to learn that there is still only one mediator between God and man (1 Tim2:5). My husband is not Him! My relationship to God had not changed when I got married. I am not God‘s daughter-in-law. I am His child! I remained His child even though I had taken on a new earthly role of wife to my husband. My husband may be, in a sense, my lord, as Sarah referred to Abraham (1 Peter3:6), but he is not my Lord God. That would be idolatry.
When I find myself being manipulative to make sure my spouse meets my needs or becoming bitter when my spouse fails, it is a sign that I have transferred my hope and faith to an idol. God makes idols to topple.
A Brother and A Sister in Christ
One Key concept changed even revolutionized my relationship with my husband. God showed me that not only am I my husband‘s bride, but in Christ I am also his sister (James 2:15). That subtle shift energized me to be the kind of wife my husband really needs. No longer was my service to the Body of Christ only in the church, it was also to my husband as my closest member of that body. Being his sister in Christ means the following:
- I can pray for him and minister to him in love.
- I do not need to load onto him the unbearable weight of all my needs.
- I do not expect him to always behave like the model of Christ.
He is a brother in Christ, needing my understanding, my help, my love, and sometimes my sympathy as we follow Christ as His children together.
This change in perspective freed me to grow up in my direct relationship with God, our Father. I asked Him for direction on how to be the best encourager to the husband He created for me. I asked Him to meet my needs before asking my husband. The change was freeing to both of us. Tom stopped feeling guilty for not measuring up to my impossible standards. I stopped unconsciously expecting him to be perfect. Instead, I looked for ways to serve him. Our love and ministry together began to thrive in new ways.
My perspective on whether or not Tom met my needs also changed. I no longer waited for him to figure out what I needed. He was not omniscient like God. I told him more openly what I needed, and I gave him the opportunity to meet my needs. I was no longer afraid that he would not or could not meet them, because I was ultimately trusting God to meet them or give me strength to have them unmet. I was grateful when Tom tried to meet them, but was not bitter if he did not. I felt much less anxiety and was less wounded when he forgot or failed. God, not Tom, was returned to His rightful place as my Good Shepherd.
In Christ, God‘s ability to meet my needs is not dependent on my spouse‘s weaknesses or strengths. If I am continuing to rely on Christ to meet my needs, while focusing on doing my own assigned task of loving and serving my spouse, Tom cannot seriously disappoint me. I realize that he fails—just as I do. I pray for him and encourage him. God is the One who meets my needs.
No Need to Hide Your Needs:… It is not godly to be silent about your needs to your spouse. Your spouse cannot read your mind and may not realize that he/she has an opportunity to express love to you. Faith gives you courage to reveal your needs to your spouse for example:-
- It is right to ask your spouse to meet your needs ….I need for you not to yell at me right now.
- It is right to tell your spouse frankly what effect his/her current actions are having on you―When you yell at me, it makes me feel that you do not respect me.
- It is right to draw boundaries to encourage a good relationship ―I love you so much, but when you yell at me, I am unable to hear what you are really saying. I do not want to ruin the closeness in our relationship, because you are so important to me. I want to understand your point of view. Can we discuss this issue after dinner?
If your spouse does not respond positively when you make your request, you may respond supernaturally because you are trusting God to meet your needs.
- Not overwhelmed with anxiety (1 Pet 5:7)
- Actively placing trust in God to meet your needs in His time (Phil 4:19)
- Trusting God to righteously judge the situation (1 Pet 4:5)
- Trusting that God cannot be dissuaded from His ultimately good purposes in your life (Jer 32:27)
- Continuing to act in love (1 Pet 4:19).