In some ways, a marriage is like an organism. To be healthy and happy it must have minimum amounts of certain things. Not enough of any number of things and the marriage suffers, gets sick, or dies.
The trick is figuring out what the marriage needs, and how much/how often it needs those things. Please note I’m not talking about your needs or his needs; I’m talking about the needs of the marriage.
Certainly what each of you needs is part of the equation, but it’s not a simple matter of your needs + his needs = the needs of the marriage. The issue here is the marriage, the two of you as one.
What makes it even more confusing is our habit of calling our wants needs. You could each want things that are not good for the marriage, even if they are good for you individually. Sometimes the needs of your marriage are at odds with what you both want. This is where sacrifice and determination of will are necessary.
At the start of this post, I said your marriage needs certain things to be healthy and happy. This is not about survival; it’s about flourishing and growing. I’ve had discussions with people who want to limit a person’s needs to the minimum required to stay alive. These minimums allow life to continue, but they do not make for a healthy or happy individual. Long-term subsistence living is emotionally detrimental to people. The same is true for marriages; subsistence living will kill a marriage emotionally.
What does your marriage need to be happy and healthy? Is it getting those things regularly? Where are you limiting things your marriage needs? Where is your husband limiting what your marriage needs? Where is busyness preventing your marriage from having what it needs?
I’m going to write a couple of posts this week about this here, and will go into more depth over on The Generous Husband. I think this would be a good series to share with your husband from the start.
~Paul – I’m XY, and I’m all about happy and healthy marriages!