For any marriage (or relationship) to work successfully, you must see to it that three basic needs of your spouse are met. The honest truth is that a marriage is more than a partnership. It is a commitment to each other. You aren't just roommates, you are married.
Fulfillment of these needs will give depth to your marriage. To be a successful mate, you need to seek to fulfill these needs. They are:
1. You need to feel Needed
2. You need to feel Appreciated
3. You need to feel Wanted
Please don't assume that these three needs are similar. They aren't. A person can feel appreciated, but not needed or wanted. A person can feel wanted, but not needed or appreciated.
For example, I could WANT a candy bar, but I don't NEED it, nor do I really APPRECIATE it as I may take the candy bar for granted. In this case it is complete urge, or desire. Now, I could NEED vegetables, but neither APPRECIATE them, nor WANT them. I can also APPRECIATE the value of, say, bottled water, but have no NEED for it, nor WANT it.
The same things can happen in a marriage. I know of husbands that appreciate all their wives do, express gratitude, but really don't feel that they need it, nor do they really want it. In some cases, I have counseled wives that feel they need their husbands, but in such a utility way that they don't desire to be with them, nor appreciate all they do. Let's look at each one and, if you will, allow me to give you some good advice.
There has never been a marriage, ordained by God, where the couple has no need of each other. If such a situation exists, you don't have a mate, you have a roommate. It is essential that you convince your mate that you need him/her.
In fact, you may want to make it a rule never to say, "I don't need you!" That is very damaging to the marriage psychology. If you don't need your spouse, they will begin to feel like they are useless, unwanted, and unnecessary. Many divorces occur because of this.
One of the reasons for marriage is so that your mate can make up for your weaknesses. It is actually quite amazing how God often pairs couples together. Often your weaknesses are your spouse's strengths. The honest truth is-you need your spouse!
Some Good Advice:
* Constantly be looking for ways to express how much you need your mate.
* Don't assume that they know. Tell them.
* Pin point the strengths of your mate and consult with them in those areas. Follow their advice!
Mankind has a need to feel appreciated. We are just made that way. Everyone likes it when someone recognizes your labor, your effort, your time, or your investment. It becomes very frustrating to work for someone that never seems to notice what you do. Oh, they might need your work, they might even want it, but they don't seem to care.
So too can a marriage get this way.
One mistake that we make with children is that we give them more attention when they mess up then when they do right. Some children will do wrong just to get their parents attention. This can happen in a marriage. Oh, the wife can keep the house clean six out of seven days, but on that last day, she fails and the husband lets her know about it. Why could the husband not praise her for the six successful days?
If you praise someone for their effort, they will tend to duplicate the effort. Why? Because it was noticed and appreciated.
So what is wrong with writing thank you notes to your spouse? When is the last time you thanked your husband for going to work? When is the last time you did something special for your wife simply because she took care of the kids?
When you begin taking things for granted it will have a negative impact on your marriage. It amazes me that a man will go to unusual lengths when he is dating his future wife, but after he gets her, the dates stop, the notes stop, and the flowers stop coming.
Prove your appreciation!
Some Good Advice:
* Write notes of appreciation to your spouse
* Have weekly dates (keeps the marriage invigorated)
* Do special things on non-special days. (ex. Such as bringing flowers to your wife on a random day, just to tell her you appreciate her.)
* Say the words, "Thank you." Even for little things.
* Look for things that your spouse does on a regular basis, things you simply expect, and thank your spouse for it.
This is not the same thing as feeling needed. There is a difference. You can want what you don't need and you can need what you don't want. Just ask any kid. Part of the problem is that so many times we are unwilling to ask for help.
Learn to ask for help. It's okay to show 'weakness' in this area-especially around your spouse. If your spouse thinks, "He wants me!" It gives her purpose, reason, and even direction.
But if he thinks, "She doesn't want me." Then he gets frustrated and discouraged. It is possible that you NEED help and would APPRECIATED it if you got it, but don't WANT it.
Let me ask you another question. You have talents don't you? Don't you enjoy employing those talents on behalf of someone that wants it? Of course you do! Sometimes when you try to force your help on someone they resent it. In such a case you feel unwanted.
Learn to ask your spouse for help. Prove that you want them!
Some Good Advice:
* Don't worry about showing a weakness in front for your spouse. Ask for their help.
* Even if you don't need something, it never hurts to ask for it to show that you want him/her.
* Ask for advice from your mate, even if you already know the answer.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
For more books and resources on how to communicate better, express yourself, and strengthen social skills. Check out our book, 'Fitly Spoken', a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.