Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seek Your Spouse's Needs First

...and yours will be added unto you!

So many things in God’s kingdom are upside down and opposite from the world’s kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” In marriage, it is almost automatic or instinctual to identify needs that we have individually, especially the ones that remain unfulfilled. However, this is a trap from the enemy that ultimately leads to BOTH partners having unmet needs.

When we intentionally focus on our spouse’s needs rather than our own, we have activated the kingdom of God and its multiplicative power. This is because:

1)We have chosen sacrifice above self-interest (John 12:25, I Peter 4:8-9, Philippians 2:4)
2)We have chosen the spirit of unity over the spirit of division (Eph. 4:2-3)
3)We are rooted in our purpose and position (Romans 8:28)
4)When you surrender your own needs, you have given them to God and whatever you give to Him, He multiplies (Mark 6:42-44)

Conversely, whenever we make decisions motivated from self interest rather than the interest of our marriage, the opposite will occur. Instead of “multiplying” the territory of our marriage, it “shrinks.” If we withhold love or grace from our spouse, we actually expand the enemy’s kingdom and unwittingly give satan an access of entry into our marriage. The enemy’s tactics are subtle and cunningly built around our weaknesses.

Marriage has spiritual, emotional, and physical components. We are going to focus specifically on emotional needs of both husband and wife. Since marriage is a part of God’s design, the kingdom principle of multiplication is applicable in emotions flowing between spouses in marriage. Whatever emotion that originates in one spouse has the power to duplicate and multiply in the other. Let’s look at an example.

When we are frustrated and angry, it is because an emotional need that we have is unmet. We can choose in that moment to love and impart grace or we can choose to criticize and retaliate. If we choose to love, that is multiplied in your spouse because love begets love. However if we act in anger, the emotion of anger will be echoed and multiplied in your spouse.

Can you identify some “situation setups” by the enemy that ultimately ends up shrinking the territory of intimacy in marriage?

Sometimes confusion can seep into a marriage simply because a spouse is unaware of what exactly his/her spouse’s needs are. Or maybe, each spouse has a general knowledge, but not to the degree in which the marriage can operate at its optimal level. It is important to identify and differentiate the emotional needs of husband and wife. In most cases, the male’s needs and female’s needs differ both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Dr. Willard Harley, author of His Needs, Her Needs, categorizes five unique emotional needs of wives and five unique emotional needs of husbands. They are as follows:


1) Affection
2) Conversation
3) Honesty and Openness
4) Financial Commitment
5) Family Commitment


1) Sexual fulfillment
2) Recreational Companionship
3) Physical Attraction
4) Domestic Support
5) Admiration

When we give liberally and without restraint to meet the unique emotional needs of our spouse, ours will be met in return. It is important to remember to love and give in these areas not based on what he or she might "deserve," which is limiting and isolating. Instead, we must give and love unconditionally and thus fulfill God's original intent for marriage.