February 14, 2011

What it Takes to be Happily Married



Love is meeting needs.

That's about the best definition of love I've ever come across. I think it applies to any relationship, but especially the marriage relationship.

Kyle and I recently spoke to couples about what it takes for both a man and a woman to be happily married. The gist of what it takes: needs are met. If we know and meet our spouse's needs, it sets the stage for a harmonious and happy relationship.

Everything we've read and studied says that in order for a man to be happily married, he needs:

  • Sexual fulfillment/a sexually responsive wife
  • Support and encouragement
  • Recreational companionship (doing fun things together)
  • An attractive spouse (Kyle assures me this has nothing to do with sizes or features, but everything to do with taking care of ourselves and presenting ourselves well. They care because it reflects on them.)
  • Domestic support
The big whopper, the one need that all others come under the umbrella of, the need written in the Bible long before any marriage book or survey said it is so: Respect.

Hearing Kyle talk about this has challenged me. He says that our husbands need our awe and admiration. They need to feel that they are a man amongst boys. To them, respect = love. So when we question them constantly, nag them, speak poorly of them, or speak with a condescending tone, we are refusing to meet their needs. Kyle says that a disrespectful wife is one of the ugliest things to a husband. Ouch. But he also says that if a man is respected, he will rise up to be a strong, tender leader.

A woman's needs are completely different and there is the rub. But, husbands, when you meet your wife's needs, even when you don't understand them or need them yourself, you nourish your wife like water to a plant. 

The big whopper, the one need that all others come under the umbrella of, the need written in the Bible long before any marriage book or survey said it so: Love.

Here are her needs that, when met, speak love to her:
  • Affection, both physical and verbal
  • Conversation
  • Companionship
  • Honesty and openness
  • A sense of value or appreciation from her husband
  • Financial support
  • Emotional responsiveness (This is romantic to a wife, as is cleaning the bathroom. Just sayin')
  • Family commitment above all other commitments
If a wife doesn't receive love in these ways, she will, like a plant, shrivel up, become bitter and prickly, and not flourish as a disciple of Jesus, as a wife, or as a mom. But if you take the time to daily nourish your wife, she will be everything you want and need: responsive, respectful, and loving.

If love is meeting needs, how are you showing love today?