We weren’t designed to be self-sustaining organisms. We inherently require things from the world around us to survive and to thrive. We have physical needs (e.g. food, water, clothing, shelter), emotional needs (e.g. acceptance, love, friendship, empathy), sexual needs (e.g. well… you get this one) and others. When we enter into marriage, the assumption is that many of our needs will be provided by our partner. And typically that is true early on in the relationship when we are very focused on satisfying our spouse. Over time, the attention often shifts from focusing on pleasing your partner, to focusing on how your partner is letting you down.
A starving person will do things that were once unthinkable in order to get nourishment. Survival is obviously a strong motivator. But what happens when our “lesser” needs go unmet? Instinctively, we will seek fulfillment either consciously or subconsciously. A woman who’s emotional needs are not met within her marriage will turn to friends, romance novels, movies or somewhere to find fulfillment. Any of these tactics are seen as socially acceptable and are therefore never questioned. But the motivation behind these could be unhealthy if carried too far. A woman that feels disconnected from her husband emotionally becomes vulnerable to any man that suddenly begins paying attention to her. Therapists will tell you that women seldom enter into an affair because they are looking for sex, rather they are craving the attention that is lacking in their marriage. The affair begins when they exchange their intimate thoughts and feelings with another; long before the sex takes place.
For men, the need is typically not emotional but rather sexual. If you look up statistics on the internet, you will see that over 20% of men admit to being addicted to on-line porn. Another study states that 70% of men aged 18-35 have been on an internet porn site within the last month. The sad truth is, there is not much difference in the statistics between the Christian community and the secular one. What is driving this? Obviously the glut of free content available on the web makes it easy to access, but what is the lure? I’d be curious to know what percentage of these men are in a sex-less (or minimal sex) marriage. I’m sure this is not a politically correct attitude, but it seems to follow this line of thinking… You’ll never see a person rummaging through a dumpster after a full meal.
So what’s the point of all of this? In a strong marriage, each partner is committed to meeting the needs of the other, over the long haul. Maybe it’s time to stop complaining about what your spouse doesn’t do for you. Focus on your own behaviors and work hard to fulfill the needs of your partner. It’s an interesting phenomenon, the more you work to meet their needs, the more your own needs will ultimately be met.
Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear your feedback.
At the beginning of our marriage, my husband wanted to ensure he could watch the NFL games all Sunday afternoon and evening without hearing complaining from his wife. He was very tactful and told me it would mean so much if I would watch the games with him. Soon enough, I learned the rules of football, and even became a fan. His football need has been fulfilled for ten years, and since I learned to enjoy the games too, I’m not resentful like other women I know who live in constant competition with sports on TV. Plus, he’s a really good sport when I want him to accompany me at the mall!
Fantastic point Julie. By first focusing on his needs, it seems that you’ve found he has willingly reciprocated. Thanks for sharing that!
Sorry this is wayyyy after you wrote this but;
AMEN, to the statement about not rummaging through the dumpster after a full meal! God and my wife have kept me clear of the addiction you spoke of since shortly before marriage. There is no room for anything else after I am filled with HIM and filled with the joy (you know what I mean) of my wife.
Thanks for your candid blog… this should NOT be a secret!