I just need him to be more understanding.
I need him to appreciate me for who I am.
I need him to help out around the house.
I need him to be more romantic.
I need him to be a spiritual leader in our home.
I need him to pursue me.
We hear a lot about needs nowadays, don't we? If we listen to the mainstream media, we come to feel as though we are always experiencing a deficit of something. And whatever that something is, there is usually a person who is supposed to be fulfilling that need. When it comes to our marriages, that person = our husband.
I think deep down we know that we aren't supposed to be seeking fulfillment from our husband. We are supposed to be seeking fulfillment in Christ. So I'm not headed in that direction with this discussion of needs. Here's my question:
Is every "need" really a need?
Short answer? No.
In fact, I think we have very few actual, God-created needs. Ed Welch argues that Scripture indicates our only true needs are 1) biological necessities such as food and water, 2) spiritual needs, such as the need to be saved from our sin and taught by Christ, and 3) a need for other people in our lives to help us accomplish God's purpose for our life. (When People Are Big and God is Small, p.163-164)
For the most part, what we call "needs" are actually "desires". We can accurately say things like:
I want him to be more understanding.
I want him to appreciate me for who I am.
I want him to help out around the house.
I want him to be more romantic.
I want him to be the spiritual leader in our home.
I want him to pursue me.
Not a popular thought, I realize. Brad Bigney writes:
Once you start calling something that you want your spouse or your kids to do a need, your expectations immediately kick in. After all, if something is a need, then the people closest to you - who say they love you - ought to help you to get it, right? (Gospel Treason, p. 72)Bigney takes issue with how many of the best-selling marriage books classify our desires as needs, saying that one particular book "should be titled His Desires/Her Desires, subtitled Your Spouse Will Never Meet Your Desires, So Shut Up and Get Over It and Get to Know God". Rather, he says that "both husband wife could be helped far more by studying God and what it means to die to self, rather than studying their top needs that really aren't needs, but desires clutched in a closed fist (Gospel Treason, p.73)."
All of those things I listed above are good things and probably essential to a healthy marriage, but do we really need them? When it comes down to it, many of those things I think I need just make me feel happier and feed my selfish desire to be catered to.
Do I need Dave to make sound financial decisions? No, I just want him to because it means my life is more secure.
Do I need Dave to help out around the house? No, but I would like him to because it makes my life more comfortable.
Do I need Dave to pursue me? No, but it sure makes me feel more significant if he does.
Do I need him to appreciate me for who I am? No, but it helps my own personal insecurities take a back seat if he thinks all these awesome things about me.
None of those desires are wrong. It's good to want wise financial choices to be made and it's fine to want our husband to appreciate and pursue us. But it's just that - a want. And if we aren't careful, those desires can quickly turn into idols, into qualities that we absolutely must have in order to thrive.
Agree? Disagree? What do you think our true needs are?
Ready. Set. Go. Discuss.