The Bible teaches us that when we marry our spouse, the two of us become one flesh. When we truly embrace that fact as reality, it becomes even more obvious that we’re responsible for meeting our spouse’s needs. Afterall, he or she is not a part of you! There are certain things that you need from your spouse and things that your spouse needs from you. Understanding how to meet those needs can put your marriage in a position to thrive.
You have needs. In addition to your basic physical needs, there are emotional, mental, and spiritual needs in your life. Once you’re married, part of your spouse’s responsibility in the marriage is to try to meet the needs that he or she is capable of meeting. However, you’re needs aren’t the only ones that matter. Your spouse also has needs, and when you become their husband or wife, it becomes your responsibility to help meet those needs. While we know that our ultimate completion comes from a relationship with Christ, we’re also responsible for meeting the needs of the person that we are connected to through marriage.
Ideally, you and your spouse are capable of having honest, open conversations about your own needs. Those needs go well beyond the need for food, water, and shelter. Instead, they include a long list of mental and emotional needs that can only come from a spouse. Even if your spouse doesn’t come right out and tell you about his or her emotional and mental needs, there are some needs that are universal. Understanding how you can take a Godly approach to meeting those needs can help ensure that your marriage stands the test of time, and that you’re the spouse that God and your partner want you to be.
Your Spouse Needs You to Choose Them
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Your spouse needs you to choose your marriage above every other relationship in your life, outside of your relationship with Christ. When you choose your relationship with Christ, your marriage will thrive. However, it’s vital that your relationship with your spouse is the second most important one in your life. That means that you choose your spouse over everything else in your life. Your spouse should be the most important person in your life.
Once you’ve made that choice, your spouse needs you to make other choices. For instance, your spouse needs you to choose harmony. No one wants to spend a chaotic day at work and come home to a house that is a type of warzone. Instead, make decisions that promote harmony within your marriage. Remember, your spouse is not to blame for that bad day at the office. Regardless of how stressed you are about what went on during your day, remember that your spouse needs you to choose harmony.
Your spouse needs you to choose humility. No, your spouse is not the perfect person. However, you’re not exactly perfect yourself. Don’t become so focused on your spouse’s shortcomings that you fail to acknowledge your own. Remain humble in everything that you do in your marriage.
Finally, your spouse needs you to choose forgiveness. We’ve already established that neither of you are perfect. Armed with that information, it’s important that you don’t hold a grudge against your spouse for something that he or she didn’t get right. That doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be mistreated, cheated on, or abused. However, when your spouse makes an honest mistake in something, be quick to forgive.
Your Spouse Needs You to Listen
James 1:19-20 (TPT)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
When you were younger, were you ever told that you had two ears and one mouth, so God intended for you to listen twice as much as you talked? Your spouse doesn’t always need you to tell them how they should handle their issues. Your spouse doesn’t always need you to try to fix everything for them. Instead, there are times where your spouse just needs you to listen.
This doesn’t always have to be a deep, profound concept. Sometimes, when your spouse has had a horrible day at work, a stressful day with the kids, or is dealing with some issues within their own family, they just need someone that they can trust listen to them vent.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you always have to have an opinion on something. Additionally, don’t approach every conversation with the mindset that your opinion has to be heard. Sometimes your spouse just needs a safe place where he or she can talk about the issues that they’re dealing with. In some cases, consider holding your opinions unless your partner asks for them.
Your Spouse Needs You to Drop Your Baggage
Philippians 3:8 (TPT)
To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.
Everyone has baggage. However, the way that we deal with that baggage can largely impact the long-term viability of our marriage. Perhaps you’re the product of a broken home. Depending on your upbringing, you may have come from a home with parents who fought, yelled, and mistreated one another. Even if they didn’t choose divorce, their behavior put baggage on you.
Perhaps this marriage isn’t even your first one. Maybe you’ve come out of a marriage where you were mistreated and abused. Maybe your first marriage ended because your spouse chose to be unfaithful and left you insecure and broken.
It’s important that you don’t allow those experiences to dictate your feelings about this marriage. If you were the product of a broken home, that doesn’t mean that your marriage is doomed to end in divorce. Just because your previous spouse was unfaithful, that doesn’t mean that your current spouse is cheating every time he or she has to work late. It’s easy to become so jaded by our past experiences that we allow them to skew our view of our present situation.
While your spouse should certainly accept you and do what he or she can to dissuade your fears associated with your baggage, he or she needs you to release that baggage in the name of sustaining your marriage. It’s not your spouse’s fault that your parents mistreated one another. It’s not your spouse’s fault that you had to rotate weekends between two parents. It’s not your spouse’s fault that your previous marriage ended in divorce because your last partner was abusive. Your current spouse is not to blame for your previous spouse’s unfaithfulness.
Your spouse does not need you to approach your marriage from a place of hurt and mistrust. Instead, he or she needs you to lay your baggage down and pursue the future that this marriage has.
Marriage is the purest picture of a symbiotic relationship. Your marriage should benefit both of you, ensuring that you both have a soft place to land when the issues of your daily life knock you down. Ask God to help you be the partner that your spouse needs and put these principles into practice every day.
A Closing Prayer:
God, thank You for my spouse. I truly believe that You have put the two of us together for a purpose. Today, I ask You to help me change. Help me to be more mindful of the things that my partner needs from me. Remind me to choose him/her in everything I do. Help me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Finally, help me to release my past hurts. In Christ’s name, Amen.