What do you mean by “need”?

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.

Want, like, need | freedigitalphotos.net

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.

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2 Comments on “What do you mean by “need”?

  1. She needs to be cherished, to be our primary mission field here on earth, to be the first to receive the benefit of God’s blessings to us. Our bride must be second only to God, but that must mean she needs us to put God first, to seek His will, and to be the man He created us to be. And since He created us to grow, she must need us to grow in Christ, in our ability to serve, forgive and love. And since we cannot show our growth and love without time spent together, she needs our time. More than the kids. More than the last-minute client call. More than our hunting buddies, or fishing buddies, or gaming buddies. More than our time at the gym, or on the golf course, or behind a drum set. We must become better men because God has bestowed upon us the gift and blessing that is our brides, and our brides must see us become better men right before their very eyes. We have been given a great gift, and to whom much has been given, much is required. (Luke 12:48)

  2. If we used the line of thinking that sex is not a need, then so much of what we “need” in life would go unmet. I can live without friendships and support, but not effectively or in a healthy way… so therefore, in my thinking, it is a “need.” My husband or I can live without sex in our relationship, but not effectively or in a healthy way. Therefore, it “is” a need. So I agree with your emphasis on it, and am thankful that you are standing up for this “need,” Paul. :)

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