This marriage thing should be very simple. In a healthy marriage, each spouse puts the other’s needs ahead of their own. If both partners do this, there will be nothing but harmony and peace in the marriage. Unfortunately we have that human element that gets in the way – selfishness. We have a flesh that carries its own agenda.
We live in a world that encourages feeding our fleshly desires, and our society seems to be growing more selfish than ever. Is it any wonder that there is so much divorce? You can’t have a healthy relationship with any human being when you are so wound up in yourself, much less an intimate marriage with someone where you are supposedly joined as one. That ‘oneness’ is basically impossible when selfish agendas get in the way.
Spiritually, the husband should take the lead or start the cycle of fulfilling their spouse’s needs. (Ephesians 5:25-29) Most women automatically reciprocate. Women are naturally givers where men can be takers, so when a husband begins to focus on giving, the wife responds with even more giving. When men realize how little effort it takes to please a woman, giving becomes easier to them because their return is then multiplied.
What if you have a spouse who doesn’t really know God? I Peter 3: 1-2 tells us, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” (Being submissive is nothing more than putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. We are all called to do that. Eph. 5:21)
This can be a daunting task for many women whose husbands aren’t the spiritual leaders. I promise you though, waiving the Bible in someone’s face and quoting scripture to them in reprimand will not win them over to God’s side. This will not create a Godly husband. It is our loving, Godly behavior that will win them over, not our words.
Matthew 20:28 says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” That should be our attitude. If we desire for our spouse to be a Godly, servant leader like Jesus, we have to be an example by serving them even when they don’t seem quite deserving of it.
The words in the Bible can look so simple and logical but applying them is a different story. Is it easy to put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own? NO!!! It’s hard work! You have to swallow some pride and often times do things you really don’t want to do, usually sacrificing your own desires. But isn’t that how our life goes? We don’t live in a perfect world that revolves around our wants and needs; we have to step out into areas that are uncomfortable and undesirable to us. But when we step out into these areas, it’s usually for some gain. It is the same way in our marriage relationship. In a healthy marriage, when we are willing to give, our needs will then be met by our spouse. It’s a win-win situation.
Matthew 22:37-40 tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
That pretty much says it all. These are the two greatest commandments spoken by Jesus. We put God first in our life and then come other people (neighbors). Not careers, not houses, not money, not selfish desires, but other people. Our spouse should be at the top of that list.
We are placed here on Earth for those other people, not for our own selves. Jesus sets the example as a servant leader and expects us to follow. We need to treat our spouse above our self and then, a healthy marriage will naturally fall in place along with many blessings from God for our obedience.
If we don’t stay interested in meeting our spouse’s needs and desires, the relationship will gradually divide into two separate entities that eventually will go their own ways.
Maybe you should start by finding out what your spouse’s top needs are - which takes me back to the solution of the original dilemma in this article. When both spouses’ needs are being met by each other, there will be no problem with who’s taking care of the house and kids and with who’s sitting on the couch.