– by Paul Nyamuda
William F. Harley, Jr., in His Needs Her Needs, lists 10 common needs prevalent in marriage today: affection, sexual fulfilment, intimate conversation, recreational companionship, honesty and openness, physical attractiveness, financial support, domestic support, family commitment, and admiration. I have found that one of the things that greatly impacts the health of a marriage is unmet needs. Unfortunately, we often fail to realise that our spouses cannot guess our needs, rather they need us to articulate them. Many couples struggle to communicate their needs to one another. In my book, Conversing, I highlight some common reasons for this: Concern around how their spouse will perceive the validity of their needs. “She might think I am being unreasonable”. Difficulty in articulating needs. Belief in the lie that articulating one’s needs equates to being selfish etc.
Ultimately, only God can fill the holes in our souls
Colossians 2:10 states “and in Christ you are complete (have been brought to fullness).” However, He uses our spouses to reinforce His heart for us and feel those feelings of love and acceptance. Some men are called to restore. Some women are called to restore. Whatever brokenness your spouse has experienced, you are called to express Christ’s healing in those areas. Therefore, I encourage you to commit to meeting your spouse’s needs beyond their expectation. Why would you want to do this? Because you love them and don’t want them to look for these needs to be met elsewhere. Remember that one of the most common causes of affairs is perceived scarcity of resources in one’s marriage.
God has equipped you
Your marriage should be a safe place where your spouse’s needs are satisfied fully. God has given you all the resources you need to meet your spouse’s needs. God will never take you where His grace cannot sustain you. When this is the climate of your marriage, the result is that your spouse becomes the best version of themselves.
How do you communicate?
How do you communicate your needs to your spouse? I have outlined a couple of needs and requisite scripts for you to use. Do this regularly and you will see that the climate in your home will change for the better.
I have a strong need to know that I am loved in my marriage.
“When you give me a back rub whilst watching TV, I feel loved.”
“When you offer to take the kids to school so that I can lie in bed longer, I feel loved.”
“When you say to me passionately “I love you so much!”, I feel loved.”
I have a strong need to feel admired in my marriage.
“When you tell your friends and parents in detail about my latest accomplishments, I feel admired.”
“When you ask for my opinion on difficult matters, I feel admired.”
“When you take time to read my articles and quote me, I feel admired.”
“When you come, and watch me at my musical recitals, I feel admired.”
“When you talk about me in your sermons or presentations, I feel admired.”
William F. Harley, Jr has an Emotional Needs Questionnaire which can be used individually followed by a series of discussions with your spouse. I have found it to be useful personally and in the context of marriage counselling – marriagebuilders.com/forms/enq.pdf.
JOY! Magazine (July 2017)