Our present family can either reinforce our past self?image (good or bad) or contribute to forming a new self?image (also good or bad.). Quite a task we have in our marriage relationship. We get married to meet our own needs, so that the saying that opposites attract is true. The focus is on the self – I need you ..I can’t live without you etc. So many people enter marriage with high expectations of their spouse to meet their unmet needs.
1n Larry Crabb’s book, the Marriage builder, he says that we are only really able to meet our partner’s needs when we have the deep inner belief that we are dearly loved by God, and are secure in his love and the inner satisfaction of knowing that we are doing the work that God called us to do on this earth .I’m sure that one of our tasks is to be used as a vessel for the love of God to flow to our partner.
You have a choice to either manipulate your spouse, or minister to your spouse.
To manipulate your spouse is to have your own needs uppermost, the self comes first and your behaviour is aimed towards having your own needs met. By doing this you are trying to control the other person, which we have no right to do, it means that we are not accepting them as they are, we want to change them into somebody who will suit our needs better.
On the other hand we have got the choice to minister to our spouse. We are in the unique position of being the only one able to minister to our spouse in a marriage relationship. We do this by accepting them as they are and looking out for and trying to meet their needs. Look at the needs behind the behaviour. The Word says that we are to think of others more highly than ourselves. This refers to needs; we are to look out for each other’s needs. A complaint that a husband spends too much time at work could actually indicate a wife’s insecurity. If we just look at the behaviour and just respond to the words the response could be ‘ you should know I have no choice the boss is putting pressure on me. If the message behind the words is responded to, the needs will be met. Maybe a wife’s anger with her husband for being late has not got so much to do with his being late, but maybe with a childhood fear of abandonment. Surely this understanding will stop a heated battle from happening. Even if you partner has behaviour that bugs you, try to see what needs the person is trying to get met. It is usually not just to irritate you; it might just be a peculiar way of trying to get a need met. Also the stronger the emotion, the greater the need so don’t criticize the emotion by shouting back ‘don’t be so emotional!’
How do you get your needs met? Does sulking, or the silent treatment sound familiar? Or being manipulative, being devious, anger. Or do you honestly express your needs and allow your partner the choice to meet your needs. Try keeping to ‘I feel’ statements as you are then owning your feelings rather than blaming your spouse. I feel unloved when you come home late. Rather than you don’t love me or else you you’d come home at 5. The first gives the partner the choice of meeting your need. The second is blaming.