Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meeting the Need of Your Spouse

On Sunday, we heard an excellent lesson on meeting the need of your spouse during the Sunday School hour from an evangelist friend that was speaking in our church. This post is taken from notes of that lesson.

Ephesians 5:31-33
1. Understand the primary need of your spouse. (v. 33)
* The wife's primary need is for the husband to love her as his own body - to feel loved and cherished by her husband (v. 29, 33).
* The husband's primary need is for the wife to respect him as her head (v. 22, 33).

2. Understand that your spouse communicates love and respect differently than you do. (I Peter 3:7; Titus 2:4).

3. Understand your reactions to your unfulfilled need begins the Conflict Cycle.

Conflict Cycle
The wife's problem - she feels unloved
The wife's reaction - she criticizes her husband
The husband's interpretation - he feels contempt for his wife (contempt = disrespected or disgraced)
The husband's problem - he thinks he is disrespted
The husband's reaction - he often becomes silent (walks away and refuses to deal with the situation)
The wife's interpretation - she thinks her husband is uncaring

So, she feels unloved, which causes her to criticize her husband, which causes him to feel contempt towards his wife, which causes him to think he is disrespected, which causes him to become silent, which causes the wife to think her husband is uncaring, which causes her to feel unloved........Do you see the cycle? Around and around it goes.

So how to do you break the cycle?
1. Decide that your spouse does not intend to be unloving nor disrespectful (Proverbs 31:11-12).
*When the wife reacts with criticism her intent is to resolve the problem.
* When the husband reacts with silence his intent is to maintain respect for both.

2. Decide to forgive as God has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

3. Decide that you will meet the need of your spouse unconditionally just as Christ would. This will begin the Christ Life Cycle (Ephesians 5:18, 21).
*Stop focusing on your needs instead of your spouse's needs.
*Start submitting yourselves to each other in the fear of God (v. 21).
*The KEY to the Christ Life Cycle is to be filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 18).

Christ Life Cycle
The wife's needs are met, so she feels loved
The wife's response is that she will be encouraged to respect her husband
The wife's decision is to respect her husband unconditionally
The husband's need of respect is met, so he thinks he is respected
The husband's response is that he will be encouraged to love his wife
The husband's decision is to love his wife unconditionally

So, because her husband loves her unconditionally, the wife's needs are met, so she feels loved, so she will respond by being encouraged to respect, so she makes the decision to respect her husband unconditionally, so the husband's needs are met, so he thinks he is respected, so he responds by being encouraged to love his wife, so he makes the decision to love her unconditionally, so her needs are met.......Do you see the cycle?

Don't wait for your spouse to "get their act together" before YOU are willing to break the Conflict Cycle and start the Christ Life Cycle. YOU be the first to do what's right! 

photo from free pixels

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