She set down the Starbucks cup with a sigh.
“I do and I do for him. I never stop. Dinner is on the table every night. I do his laundry, make sure he has everything he needs, and then when the lights go out.” She sighed. “but he doesn’t care. I have needs too.”
Her girlfriend shakes her head and reaches over and gently pats her hand.
“I understand. You need to take care of yourself too. You are right, you need to have your needs met as well.”
Across town 2 guys are working out in the gym.
“Nag, nag, nag. That’s all I hear. I don’t do this right, I don’t do that right. I don’t ask for much. I really don’t, but she won’t see the good I do, all she sees are the mistakes.” He pounds the treadmill. “And seriously, how many headaches can one woman have. I work hard, provide well, and make sure she has what she needs. I have needs too.”
“You’re right, dude. She should be doing a better job of taking care of your needs. You deserve it.”
They both go back to their treadmills in silence, shortly moving on to last night’s game.
People talk a lot about what they need. There is the need for affection, the need for sexual intimacy, the need to be loved, the need to feel secure, the need for respect, and the list could go on, especially in marriage. How many statements in marriage begin with “I need”? And how many end with an argument because your spouse isn’t meeting your needs.
I can’t think of a marriage where this hasn’t, at some level, been an issue. The wife has a need, and the husband isn’t aware of it, or doesn’t see the importance of it. He neglects the “need” and she resents it. The same could be said for the husband. He has a need and she ignores it, or doesn’t understand it.
But there is a more basic problem as I see it. It is not my wife’s responsibility to meet my needs. That isn’t in her job description. I have looked in Scripture, and nowhere does it say that she is to meet my needs. On the other hand, nowhere does it say I am to meet her needs. However, as a believer, I am assured that ALL my needs will be met.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen ( Philippians 4:19-20)
God will meet my needs, through Jesus Christ. And what is my need? That’s right, Jesus Christ. That is my need. I need nothing other than Christ and Him crucified. Are the other things nice? Sure. Do the other things feel like needs sometimes. Of course. But when it comes to needs, I need only Christ.
That brings me to the needs in my marriage. It feels like I need respect. From a human standpoint, I do need respect. Does Christy give it to me? Sometimes, and sometimes not. If I see it as her responsibility to meet my needs, I can hold this over her head and use it to beat her up. “I need respect. It is your job to give it to me. I am not feeling respected, you aren’t doing your job. You aren’t meeting my needs.” But if my needs are God’s responsibility, that changes everything. If Christy isn’t respecting me, then maybe I need to learn to trust Christ more than I need respect. Maybe I need to learn humility and servanthood more than I need to be respected. Maybe I need to learn to show love, even when she is unlovely, more than I need respect. Maybe I need to learn to be Christ to my wife, more than I need respect.
Maybe I need Christ more than I need respect.
Now, that changes how we behave as husbands and wives too. If affection is one of my wife’s needs, but it is Christ’s responsibility to meet her needs, what greater honor is it to be a partner with Christ in being able to meet her needs. I am not just showing her affection because I want to (which can get old, or change with my mood), nor am I just showing her affection because she needs it (which can lead to resentment), I am showing her affection because I get to work with Jesus Christ in meeting my wife’s needs. WOW!! What an honor. In fact, if I am working with Christ to meet my wife’s needs, my next question is, “What other needs can I meet?” Not just because I love her (which is true), but because I love Jesus.
One more thing that happens. You see, when it is my responsibility to meet my wife’s needs and it is her’s to meet mine, if I am giving (or think I am giving) more than she is, I can become pretty resentful, pretty fast. But, if I accept that it is Christ’s responsibility to meet my needs (and he knows my needs better than I do, I just have to trust that He will meet them), but I have the privilege of partnering with Christ to meet my wife’s needs, then there is no room for resentment. First of all, there is no room to compare her to me, because I am looking to Christ to meet my needs. Secondly, I am working with Christ, not for her, so if I give more than she does, it doesn’t matter, I am working for Christ, not for her. I just have to trust that God will meet my needs through Christ.
That’s the hard part, however. When things don’t go my way and I struggle, and I feel needy, I have to trust in Him, and trust that He is meeting my needs. When life crashes in, I have to trust that He is meeting my needs. When I am frustrated with my wife, I have to trust Him to meet my needs. When I learn to trust Christ, and trust that He will meet my needs, then I can put my wife in her proper, glorious position as my partner, walking through this life together, both for the glory of God, and learning dependence on Him. God will supply all my needs, not my wife!!!!