Stop playing the want vs need game and just give.

In yesterday’s post, What do you mean by “need”? I said I felt sorry for anyone living with a spouse who only felt they had to meet needs, not wants. Of course, it is less clear in most marriages.

Wants, needs, likes | freedigitalphotos.netWe are happy to give what we like to give, and what is not too difficult for us to give, and we do not quibble over those things being wants or needs. We start to draw lines when our spouse expresses a desire for something we do not want to do, do not enjoy doing, find difficult, do not value, and so on. It is when we are unwilling that we start to argue about wants and needs, at least in our own minds. “I give her what she needs, and a lot of what she wants” we rationalise. Never mind we do not give her four of the top ten things she desires, we give her many of the things she desires less, thinking that somehow makes up for it. Of course if she fails to meet any of our most important desires, we get upset; but that’s different, right? What we want is reasonable, what she wants is not. What we want should be easy for her, while some of what she wants is very difficult for us. She has more free time, or less stress in her life, or … well there has to be some reason why it is so wrong for her to say no and so understandable for me to sometimes say no!

Or, maybe we are just selfish? I know I certainly am!

Here’s a plan – spend less time looking for reasons why it is okay to not meet her wants and needs, and more time meeting those wants and needs. Treat them all as valid needs, and focus on those she says are the most important. If she wants it, it is not wrong, and it will not cause problems (including but not limited to financial problems) then do everything in your power to give it to her. 

Might this result in her starting to do the same for you? It almost certainly will – but don’t do it for that reason. Do it because it is the right thing to do. Do it because you love her. Do it because she deserves it. Become a radical husband!

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5 Comments on “Stop playing the want vs need game and just give.

  1. Great blog! I hope my wife reads this. I never tell her no, unless its an affordability issue. I keep a waiting on her to follow my example …

    • One of the widest paths to bitterness is in thinking that “because I give so much and never say no, I DESERVE for her to say yes once in a while.”

      Let me be upfront and say I am a wife. I never refused my husband and I LOVE giving to him in as many areas as I can. That being said, I fell into bitterness, anger and resentment when my needs weren’t even close to being met and were even out and out refused.

      Yes, as a spouse, we do deserve to have our needs and even wants met, especially when we do our part….or at least think we do. But, letting our needs and wants become an idol – something that consumes our attention and attitude before Godliness – then we’ve got a problem.

      When I fell before God about the issues I faced, the biggie being sex (hubby stopped making sure I was pleasured during sex for nearly 3 years and recently stopped sex all together), God showed me that while I was such a generous wife, I was really generous for ME, not for him.

      I did all those self-sacrificing wifey things to exault myself. Look at what a great thing I did for hubby! Look at how he treats me in return! I’m such the martyr! (Yes, I did them in love, too, but not always and always with a heart towards writing another mark in my imaginary book of look at I did for him and look how little he’s done for me.) And then I tried doing things to GET hubby to take care of my needs. “See what I’m doing for you? Now, you need to do things for me!”

      Do you know what hubby needed when he shut off sex? He needed me to back off and love him anyway. He needed me to respect his space, his need to heal and deal with his side of the issue…AND (pay attention here) he needed ME to heal and deal with my side of the issue!!

      God uprooted so much out of me! Yes, I did talk to hubby about the lack in the sex department for so long. I explained how I felt about it and I left it at that. 6 days later, Woot Woot, the bedroom lit up!

      Christ’s love is generous and giving with the free choice on us whether to give back or not. Some people choose not to take Christ’s love at all. Others choose it, but do as little as possible in return. CHRIST deserves our love. He tells us how we can love Him (in His Word.) But, He NEVER forces us or demands it, or expects it selfishly. He gives because He loves us unconditionally. And when we choose not to engage fully in giving to Him in return, we do miss out on SO much, just like in a marriage.

      But, the things God taught me during hubby and I’d drought was 1. My attitude and martyrdom was driving hubby away. 2. We totally need to really communicate more (not just, I want more sex, I deserve it, but deep why). 3. I need to love hubby unconditionally. 4. I need to recognize what he truly needs and lovingly give it to him, even if it is a huge sacrifice for me, BUT I can still go to God about my loss, too.

      • livinginblurredlines – You are correct – why we do it can make a huge difference. Of we only give to get the results are different than giving because it’s the right thing to do, or giving out of love.

  2. I agree Kevin…… I wish my bw could read this, sometimes it’s almost impossible to know her wants/needs, it seems that sometimes we (hubby’s) need to be mind readers….. or better yet pay closer attention

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