I spend quite a bit of time counseling people with marriages that are in trouble. Most of them didn’t start there, it slowly slid into the ditch over the years. Being too busy, putting children first, ignoring date night, and unresolved hurts and anger all contribute to the demise of a loving relationship in a marriage.
The couples that come to us for help have often already read books like His Needs Her Needs, and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and 5 Love Languages. All of which are fine publications- for unbelievers looking for help. Ohh I know I stepped on some toes with that one…
That is because a major nail in the marriage coffin is a preoccupation on having “my needs” met. All of these books focus on felt needs and the expectations we place on each other to meet them in marriage. We are expected to know how to fill “love cups” and “love tanks” and to understand the felt needs of our mate. Pardon me, but I don’t see anything of the kind in the Bible as a part of a Christ-centered marriage. These are psychological principles that are un-scriptural!
The Biblical model for marriage is sacrificial love and oneness. Our marriages are to reveal to the unbelieving world the union of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33
Nowhere in this passage or any other in the Bible do we read we are to have our felt needs met by our spouse. Now lest you misunderstand me, I am not saying feelings are not important, or that we are to ignore our desires and emotions. What I am saying is that when husband and wife decide that they want to honor and glorify God in how they respond to one another those felt needs do not become an issue.
If I am focused on how I can glorify God by selfishly loving and serving my husband in any way I can think of myself, and by doing the things he asks of me won’t his “needs” be met? He will see a woman who is devoted to God and to him. He will have a loving, caring woman who desires him and who he can see wants to make this life good.
For me as a wife what it means is I set my mind on serving Him. By Him, I mean the Lord Jesus Christ. I become “other” focused. Rather than asking why my husband is not meeting my needs, I determine to discover the ones I don’t know. I seek to serve and to please him in every way I can.
Now I know some of you reading this are screaming. Words like doormat, slave and so on are running around your mind. You fear being taken advantage of, abused, ignored and all that. I cannot deny some women who seek to glorify God in this way get no good response from their husbands, but that is not the point because it is not about YOU, or even about your husband. This is about Christ and living a life that models His. One that is sacrificial and others oriented.
Meditate on these things…Phil 4:8