Why Your Spouse Can’t Meet Your Needs and WW Linkup!

Entitlement

It’s easy to fall into a codependent or entitled mindset in marriage when we focus on the legitimate “needs” our spouse should be meeting in our lives.

You might be thinking, “Come again? Shouldn’t I focus on meeting the needs of my spouse?

And I would say a resounding, “YES, you should!”

I think being aware of and meeting the needs of our spouses should be something we aim for continually!

The trouble comes when you express your needs to your spouse and then expect your spouse {“sloppy expectations” strike again!} to remember to meet them every time they have the opportunity. So when your spouse forgets or simply doesn’t give back to you, you feel entitled to become angry and/or hurt. {Come on! You know you do . . . at least every once in a while!}

It’s a simple formula that quickly spirals into dysfunction and negativity. It goes like this . . .

Communication of my needs to my spouse plus opportunity to have my needs met minus my spouse actually meeting my need equals discouragement and division or {for all you math lovers out there!}.

In short order, can lead to anger and bitterness—dooming the marriage that you thought was headed for bliss . . . all because of your spectacular intentionality and laser-like focus on meeting just the right needs as well as considering your spouse’s “love language” to boot! 😉

How’s that for bittersweet irony?

So have you gone for a ride on this entitlement merry-go-round with your spouse? I’ve been on it and, let me tell you, it’s no fun! The “ride” will most certainly send you reeling and potentially “tossing your cookies”probably in the lap of your spouse! Hmmm, wonder what love language that might communicate? Ewww!

How do we escape this entitlement or obligation mindset that often comes with expressing what we “need” to our mates?

Bottom line . . . we don’t really “need” anything from our spouse! Sure, we desire for our spouses to love and protect us. We also long for our spouses to give us attention and affection. And, it’s true that our marriages won’t thrive without constant nurturing and care. But . . .

[Tweet “Is your spouse really the ‘source’ that you should expect to meet your needs?”]

I think when you “expect” {translation – “demand”} that your spouse will meet your needs, you make your spouse into a god &/or idol.

Conversely, to try and meet your spouse’s needs in your own strength is to make yourself a “god.”

[Tweet “God is the only One who can meet our needs and He is the Power through which we meet them.”]

Does this all mean that we should never communicate what we would like from our mates? No. But it does mean we should nip that entitlement or sloppy expectation in its’ tracks as quickly as the request falls off our lips!

 

What do you think? Am I taking this perspective too far?

 

How do you think you should communicate any “desires” you have to your mate and what would a healthy expectation be like to go along with that?

 

 


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, So Much at Home and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday . . .

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Messy Marriage

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  • Spot on friend! The Lord is the ONLY source we need to combat the D2 mentality we face in marriage. I truly love how the Lord has used your own D2 moments to encourage and bring hope to marriages in need. xoxo

  • Asheritah Ciuciu

    “Sloppy expectations.” Yeah, that’s the source of many of our misunderstandings. But when I leave those with the Lord, I end up much more content AND my needs end up being met. Win-Win! 🙂

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Spot on, Beth.

    When marriage, or any close relationship becomes a series of quid pro quos, it’s headed for trouble. The attitude of the servant is lost; it becomes a business arrangement.

    As i wrote that, it did occur to me that “the worker is worthy of his wages”, and that might be a path to misuse of the metaphor.

    One might get around it by taking the position that we are not servants to our spouse, but servants to God, in meeting the need of His beloved child, whom he has entrusted to our care. Our ‘wages’ are then met in the incorruptible realm…and we need not expect them in the temporal.

    I think that’s a lot more elegant, personally, than “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.”

    Because THAT goes over really well in the Monkey House at the zoo.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/03/my-in-laws-hate-me-wedded-wednesday.html

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  • Mary

    Entitlement is such an easy trap to fall into due to the “I’m always right” mentality. I don’t think you too this perspective too far because marriage is building into each other and stepping back and re-examining when things are not going well. It is establishing a rhythm between you and your spouse that requires God as the center. Thank you for your words of teaching on marriage and for being real with what it looks like. Have a blessed day! hugs friend!

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  • stasia08

    Such truth, as usual!

  • Agree, agree, agree. Reminds me of the phrase, “You don’t want to hear my opinion, dear, you want YOUR opinion to come out of my mouth!” That is me on all counts. I want him to fix everything (yesterday) and I want all of the solutions to suit me perfectly. Ouch. Great lesson today, I will hopefully do more than just chew on it. ♥

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  • Mary Flaherty

    Good stuff, Beth. I wish I knew in my first marriage what I have learned in my second one…but then, they are two different people…but then, so am I…in a sense…

  • Jessica

    So true thank you for this reminder, Beth!

  • bluecottonmemory

    You are so right. My “perception” of my marriage improved when I stopped expecting my husband to take care of needs only God can fulfill! That was a WOW! moment in my life. It is something more need to understand – and you discussion puts it on the table! I believe that nugget is one of the most valuable lessons of all!

  • Carmen Horne

    One of the hardest things I have learned in my 37 years of marriage is that my husband cannot meet all my needs. I wanted him to fill every hole when I finally realized that one of those was a “God Hole” and he was never going to be able to fill it. Whew, that was freeing for us both! Great post Beth!

  • So much to think about in this post, which was wonderful by the way. I think when we have expectations of our spouses (and others) we are only setting them up to fail & ourselves to be disappointed. Over the years of our marriage, I have learned (not the easy way either) it is best to let the Lord fill me up & keep me satisfied. My husband, even though he is wonderful, cannot do or give me what only God can. My husband, on the other hand, is a gift from God which has enhanced my life & shared the adventure. Much wisdom in this post!

  • You have not taken it too far at all! When I finally stopped looking to Marcus to fulfill my needs and expectations and turned to God instead, I was able to grow into the wife Marcus needed me to be – a wife who lives in the freedom and grace of God.

  • Oh yes, in those younger years when my husband was home I was all about the expectation. I couldn’t enjoy being with him because I was waiting for him to fill needs he didn’t know I had! When I changed the expectations and just loved him, we both enjoyed each other. And some of those “needs” went away. Awesome thoughts you’ve give us.

  • Hey Beth!
    I shook my head in awe of God as I read. He spoke to me clearly some years ago that the reason I get angry with my husband when I does not ‘do’ my expectations is simply because I have turned from HIM (God) and turned to my spouse as my source.
    He told me to stop making my husband my ‘god’, it would only lead to disappointments, and pains…
    This post just refreshed my mind and I know I have to stick with God on this.

  • Another good one, Beth. THIS IS IT: I think being aware of and meeting the needs of our spouses should be something we aim for continually! Putting the other one before ourselves. Yep! Hard sometimes, but always holy. I wrote about something very similar (and how I baked my first ever cherry pie for my Michael — his fav!!) yesterday. Hugs to you, friend.

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