It is NOT wrong to have needs.

16 Apr

((This post is a reminder to myself.  This was a rough last couple of days.  Chances are, if I’ve felt this, someone else has too.  Because that’s the way Satan works.  He pushes us all in the same ways!))

In marriage,  you’ll never get anywhere making a list of things about your spouse that get on your nerves, are bad habits, strong holds, are annoying, disappointing, or are his/her failures.

Not only does it tear them down in your mind and make it hard to practice unconditional love or respect (depending on gender) but it also elevates a level of pride inside ourselves that starts us thinking we’re just a little better than they are because even if we recognize we have our own list…. it certainly isn’t that long or that bad.

It’s ALWAYS best to look at your own sins and change yourself.

That being said, God designed marriage to be a TWO WAY STREET.  While you cannot be responsible for what your spouse does or doesn’t do in the marriage, and you should not withhold your responsibilities in the marriage even if your needs are not being met, that DOES NOT MEAN you should no longer have needs or that if you feel sad or let down that you don’t really love Christ or that you’re not being a good spouse.

If marriage only needed to be one way…. there would only be directions to one gender in scripture.  And that is NOT  the case at all.

I received an email this week from a gentleman attemping to address some issues in marriage, and it tore me to shreds.  I cried for HOURS!! It was awful.  The premise of the email was bent on tearing down every aspect of my interactions as a wife, as well as over-addressing how needy and greedy it is to have a genuine love language, expectations and needs in a marriage – well for a wife that is, not a man….those needs were legitimate somehow.

Do you know what it felt like?  It felt like a hurt husband was given a platform to say “Finally – everyone listen, let me tell you exactly what women do wrong, how it makes us men feel, and what they should be doing if they really loved God and respected their husband. Once they get this right, they’ll be worthy of us opening up.”

That IS NOT godly male advice.  That’s female bashing in disguise of “Let me help tell women how they can be better wives.”

**If there is too much focus on women having to watch EVERY word they say and actions they make… ultimately we’re asking women to either 1.)  turn into men so they can treat them exactly as another man would treat them and relate to them or 2.) Treat their husband as if he’s an infant and they’re the mother who has to do everything for him to keep him happy.   That kind of advice is allowing men to have zero responsibility to learn, grow and change UNTIL their wife does first.  And it puts ridiculous pressure on a wife to get every step right before her husband should even have to attempt to love her back the way she needs.

Let me make sure I am not being misunderstood here.

I am still VERY much in support of a woman giving unconditional respect to her husband, finding her joy in Christ, changing if necessary to learn to speak her husband’s love language (even if it doesn’t come natural), trying to do her part to learn about gender differences and then being gentle and patient through those differences, and being submissive.

However, I do NOT believe that means HIS NEEDS are necessities and HER NEEDS are optional.

Men have work to do too.  Is it our responsibility as wives to focus on or force that? NO! And we’ll only ruin our marriages trying to play Holy Spirit.

But do not ever buy into the lie that men are not also commanded in marriage to give unconditional love, find their joy in Christ, change if necessary to speak his wife’s love language (even if it doesn’t come naturally), learn about gender differences and be gentle and patient through those differences, and be a spiritual leader.

Men and women have EQUAL, even though different, responsibilities in marriage.  Do not let anyone try to tell you that his needs matter, and you’re wrong, needy, prideful, expectant, or any other negative impression for having your own needs and for praying that those needs are one day met by your husband LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO BE!!

You are not failing to find your fulfillment and joy in Christ just because you long for your husband to hold up his end of the commands in marriage. That thinking brings condemnation, guilt and unnecessary hurt to an already hurting wife.

Practical Application –

Be sure to weigh all the advice you hear heavily against scripture and with decisive ears.

Fix what you can IN YOURSELF, pray about what you can’t fix in him, trust the Holy Spirit to move, and believe that a woman can win her husband without a word.

But never buy into the lie that your needs will magically disappear just because you love God, put Him first, and are respectful to your husband. And if that hasn’t happened, you’re not doing it right yet.  Make no mistake about it – that is a lie.  You’ll still need unconditional love, you’ll still have a love language that needs spoken, and you’ll still have needs in your own marriage that you need your husband to meet, even if you find joy in the Lord.

The reality is, through your changes, your husband may learn to love you like Christ loves the church and speak your love language (which is the HOPE!) but there is also the truth that he might not.  The goal is to learn how to do your part because God commands you to, even if he doesn’t change.  Not because your needs will go away, but because you desire to be obedient to the Lord, even if that means having unfulfilled longings in your marriage forever.

And that’s hard.

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2 Responses to “It is NOT wrong to have needs.”

  1. Merrie Beth April 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Great post!

    Nina Roesner addressed this here too
    http://ninaroesner.com/resources/when-it-doesnt-work/

    I’m sorry that you awesome marriage bloggers sometimes get horrid feedback from readers :(. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s awesome!

    • Kayla Gulick April 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      I’m going to head over there and check that out right now! I love her blog and book!

      Thanks Merrie Beth! You know, I don’t even think the feedback is meant to be bad… it’s just people having an outlet for their own experiences and hurts. Sometimes it just comes across as very attacking. But, I recognize it’s coming from a place of hurt. So I try never to take it personal. But sometimes, I’m still human 🙂

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