The most important issue in marriage is your personal relationship with Jesus Christ because only God can meet your deepest needs: your acceptance, identity, security, and purpose. When you get married, and you don’t have a close relationship with Jesus Christ, you will automatically transfer the expectation of your needs to your spouse, and set your marriage up for failure. Your spouse can’t be Jesus for you. Like the Samaritan woman at the well trying to get her deepest needs met by a human being, that just doesn’t work. Only God can meet those needs.
If we could meet our own needs, we wouldn’t get married. We get married to meet each other’s needs because men and women have different core needs we can’t meet on our own. When you have a bad marriage, it means one person is rejecting the other’s inherent differences. When your wife tells you what her needs are and you reject those needs, it feels like you reject her. Here are the four needs of a woman and how to understand and meet them.
Need #1: Security
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her.” The standard Paul sets for a woman is to respect her husband the way she would respect Jesus. The standard for men is giving your life for her, just like Jesus gave his life for you. You love her more than you love yourself. You sacrifice yourself for her.
There are three ways you can meet your wife’s need for security.
- Communicate your commitment to sacrifice for her. Go back to Ephesians: “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” He gave himself for her. Nothing should be as important to you as your wife is. You have to be willing to sacrifice something, whether that’s an interest, a hobby, a friend, an event, an opportunity, or a promotion, to make sure her needs are met.
- Be sensitive to your wife’s needs, and don’t make her nag or beg. Your wife should never have to nag or beg you. When you send your wife flowers or cards, or you’re romantic with your wife, what you’re saying is, “You’re on my heart.” The lack of romance simply means, “I don’t think about you. You’re not on my heart.”
My uncle passed away several years ago. When I was writing his eulogy, my aunt told me that for 40 years of marriage, he wrote her a new poem every day. Think about that for just a minute—every day for 40 years! Do you know what that means? When he was alone every morning, he was thinking about her. She was the happiest woman on earth.
- Be a faithful provider and a faithful money manager. Another part of your wife’s security is knowing that she’s going to be provided for. Whatever job you have, the issue isn’t the size of the paycheck. The issue is the size of your commitment to provide and take the lead in the financial management of the home.
Need #2: Soft, Non-sexual Affection
This is an amazing thing: the more non-sexual soft affection women get, the more sexual they become. You need to be physically affectionate with your wife. Listen to her when she’s telling you she wants to be held, and be patient and gentle. What non-sexual physical affection communicates to her is that she’s more to you than just a sex object and that you’re connected on a higher level than just sex.
Need #3: Open and Honest Communication
Women don’t want headlines. They don’t want grunts and groans. They don’t want to hear nothing. How she connects to your world and your heart is through communication. When your wife says to you, “What did you do today?” She doesn’t just want the events; she wants the feelings.
What’s the secret to better sex with your wife? Talk to her. Hold her. Many women find intimate conversation stimulating. What does that have to do with sex? For a woman, great sex begins with her life as a whole. Often, we as men tend to one-dimensionalize and objectify our wives the way pornography does, thinking they ought to just turn on and off sexually. But when you hold your wife and you talk to her, that will open her heart to you and to intimacy with you on a level you’ve never experienced before.
Need #4: Leadership
Women don’t want to be dominated. They want to be treated as equals, but they want their husbands to be the loving initiator of the home in four important areas: the children, romance, finances, and spiritual matters.
They want you to be the loving initiator of the home. Even if you have more of a passive personality, you need to stand up and be the initiator. It means you begin the conversations about disciplining your children. You begin the conversations about budgeting. You begin the conversations about church and spirituality and prayer and things like that.
Jesus is the only one that can meet your deepest needs, but once Jesus has met your deepest needs, there are important needs that you have to meet in your wife’s life. You don’t meet your wife’s needs based on your own needs or desires but on her needs, and a commitment that you’re going to do that the rest of your life. Imagine you’ve got a banquet set before you, and you’ve got utensils on your hands that are too long to serve yourself. If you’ll be a servant to each other, you’ll both get to eat. If you serve each other, you can have the marriage of your dreams—the heaven marriage.