There are times when we all fail, when we make mistakes, or when one of us has a need that the other either doesn’t know how to meet or isn’t responsible to meet. We should realize that only God can meet some of our needs. And when we understand that perfect love and unconditional acceptance can only be found by having a relationship with Him, we find balance in our lives.
On their fifth anniversary, Rick and Linda went camping to celebrate. But they also decided that it was time for a marriage tune-up. “We had been so busy with life,” Linda says, “that all of a sudden, I realized that there was an ache in my heart. There were things we needed to talk about, but there didn’t seem to be the right opportunity. So months went by and I forgot about those things, or I stuffed them away. And we never quite found the time to have a good, healthy discussion. This time away gave us the chance to intentionally stop, reevaluate our relationship, and take the time to tune up our marriage. We spent five hours talking about our needs, and it was great!”
“We simply had to rekindle our awareness of each other’s needs,” Rick says, “and then we had to be willing to figure out how to meet those needs. People often go along in their marriage, and they get lazy. We forget to be deliberate about serving each other and keeping our marriage healthy.”
“We were sliding into complacency,” Linda says. “Often, it’s simply being considerate of the other’s feelings. If the wife has a concern or fear, for example, the husband should try to alleviate those concerns, and visa versa. And it’s so important not to assume the other just knows what your need is.”
“A person can get irritated when he or she doesn’t get a need met,” Rick adds. “But sometimes it’s because that person hasn’t told his or her spouse what that need is! We can’t expect to read each other’s minds.”
“Sometimes I hesitate to tell Rick about a need, because I think it might spoil the moment,” Linda says. “It doesn’t feel as romantic to tell him I need romance. Especially since I think he should already know this. But then, if he doesn’t meet that need, I get disappointed and resentful and frustrated. I know that’s not fair to him.”
As Rick and Linda attest, unmet needs do cause conflict, frustration, and misunderstandings in a relationship. But learning how to rekindle awareness, keep short accounts, stay on top of things, and alleviate those misunderstandings can sure help.
Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.