Yesterday in Why “Why?” is usually a bad sign, I said if your spouse has a need, either you do your best to provide it, or you do not. The first is loving, the second is not.
What we often hear when we talk about “needs” is “That’s not a need, it’s a want.”
My first thought, which I usually do not express, is “I feel sorry for your spouse if you feel you should only give them what they need, and can ignore what they want.” Where is the line between want and need? I have often heard “He won’t die without it” (among other things, I hear this about sex). If the standard is “will die without it” then our needs are very limited, and few if any of them must be provided by our spouse. Surely, no one really means this when they talk about “needs”.
What if we look at “survival” beyond being alive a few days from now? What if we look at being strong and healthy rather than just talking about survival? What if we look at not just the health of our bodies, but of our minds and our spirits? What we need to be healthy in all ways is a much larger list, and much of it should be at least partially provided by our spouse. Some of it should be provided primarily by our spouse, and some (like sex) should be provided only by our spouse. This view means our spouses needs a great deal from us, just as we need a great deal from them. If we live this way, we will be dependent on each other, which is a scary thought for some.
What does your wife need from you that you are not giving her? What does she need more of than you are currently giving her? Is it possible she really needs more conversation from you? Might her saying she needs to spend more time with you be valid?
Do not dismiss her needs as wants just because they don’t seem like needs to you; treating her needs like wants only serves to encourage her to do the same to you. Maybe if you start to treat her needs as needs, she will see your needs differently.