Monday, 8 August 2011

His Needs Versus Her Needs

Everyone believes they have needs. In actuality most “needs” start out as expectations which morph into desires which evolve into needs which often become demands. Sometimes our desires conflict with one another. A wife might want her husband to be more communicative when he comes home from work because she “needs” some adult conversation and has a desire to connect emotionally with her husband. The husband on the other hand may want to withdraw to read the paper because he “needs” to decompress after a particularly hectic day. Neither person is wrong but in this example one of the partners will not get his/her perceived needs met. If this scenario plays out day after day a fair amount of tension will build.

One thing that would help is that we rename our felt needs as what they really are – desires. Second it would be very helpful for each person to be perfectly candid and forthright. The wife might say, “I really want to spend some time with you when you come home. I’ve been with young children all day and I long for adult conversation, but more importantly I want to connect with you and desire to share what’s going on in our lives.” The husband might say, “I am exhausted when I get home, it seems as though I go from one crisis to another. I really need some time to veg out and just relax.”

Using the Biblical model the husband would say to himself, “I hear my wife saying that one way that I can demonstrate my love for her is to engage her in a conversation when I get home from work.” The wife might say, “I must respect my husband by acknowledging the fact that he has worked hard and wants some down time when he gets home.” Keeping in mind that the purpose of marriage is to glorify God would encourage the couple to seek a win/win solution. One approach might be that the husband relaxes for 20 minutes and then the couple talks for 15. If there are younger children, they would be instructed that this is a sacred time and that they are to occupy themselves during the 35 minutes.

The Biblical model is simple in design but difficult to pull off. It is difficult because it requires that you put the other person first. Just as Christ put our deal ahead of his deal we are to continually ask “in what tangible ways can I make my wife feel that she is loved?” The wife is to continually ask “how can I best express to my husband how much I respect him?”

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