Meeting needs in marriage — what is the biblical response? If you or a family member has marital struggles, we hope this article points you in the wise direction. By counselor Julie Ganschow, the article first appeared here on her website and is used with permission.
As biblical counselors, we spend considerable time teaching our counselees new things about marriage. Most couples have not been taught much at all. Many come to the altar with the wrong idea of what marriage is, for and is to be about. They wrongly believe that the other person is going to make them happy.
Both people are concerned with themselves and asking,
- “How can my needs be met?”
- “How can you please me?”
- “How can you serve me?”
When, for example, a wife realizes her husband is not overly concerned about meeting her needs all the time because he is concerned about his needs being met trouble brews quickly!
When Meeting Needs Becomes a Problem
We all have legitimate needs. We expect that when we marry that our spouse will love us and care for us and provide for us. We expect they will be our life-long mate and will be there when things are going wrong or we need help.
When you agree to marry someone, you are committing to selflessness for the rest of your life. This is not something to enter into for the supremely selfish. The problem for the married couples we see in biblical counseling is that maybe no one ever told them that!
Each person goes into the marriage with an “It’s all about me” attitude and is unwilling to be the initiator in giving.
Your obligation in marriage is to provide for your spouse. Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. It is a 100/100 relationship. Each of you has to be willing to give it all away. You have to give it all away and expect nothing in return. You do it because you agreed to in the beginning, and because doing it glorifies God.
Solution: Sacraficial Living for Your Spouse
Sacrificial living for your spouse glorifies God. I have told women I counsel that to determine to serve their husband no matter how ungrateful and selfish he is brings God glory. They are to look at serving him as though they are serving Christ. There are times when glorifying God is going to be a time of human suffering, especially if one person is not fully committed to glorifying God in the marriage.
When a marriage begins to get sour and is full of strife, upset, anger, bitterness, and such it is because there is a problem within one or both people in that marriage. There is a problem within the heart and that is what must be dealt with first before there will be any change in the relationship.
Your heart must be renewed first by God’s grace in salvation and then through the sanctification process as your mind is renewed (Rom.12:1-2). It reads,
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If your marriage is in trouble your goal should be to glorify God in your marriage. The chief end of man is to live to glorify God in all aspects of life.
If you are determining to respond to your husband out of love for God and obedience to Him rather than to serve yourself or to make yourself “happy” then you will begin to experience those changes of heart that will lead to changes in your marriage.