There are several reasons why you must commit yourself to meeting your spouse’s basic needs:
1. It is the conjugal duty you owe to your spouse
When you spoke your marriage vows, you where promising to take on certain responsibilities in the marriage. One of those responsibilities includes fulfilling some of your spouse’s needs that nobody else is meant to meet. Yes, it would require sacrifice, but if you take delight in meeting those needs, you cannot fail to build a rock solid marriage.
2. It is the evidence that you really love your spouse
Love is a verb. It is an action word. You can’t really say you love somebody and not think of making them happy. Well, your spouse can’t be totally happy and fulfilled if their basic needs stay unmet for long periods of time. So, every deliberate effort to meet your spouse’s basic needs is proof that you really love him/her.
3. It is the pattern your children will see and emulate
Psychologists and sociologist are right to remind us that up to 80% of our children’s attitude and behaviour come directly from what they observe and learn in the home. They also tell us that the chances of turning out just like our parents are alarmingly high. That said, there is no better example that you can set for your children than to genuinely express tonnes of kindness and consideration to your spouse in front of them.
4. It is the confirmation that you are a person of integrity
Integrity is never easy to maintain. Life and circumstances often conspire to make you drop your standards. Yes, you made a promise, but you don’t think your partner is living up to their part of the bargain - you figure. But integrity has nothing to do with what somebody else does or doesn’t do. Integrity has to do with you. So when you promise to meet your spouse’s need for respect, or honesty, or openness, or financial support, or sex – you do it because your reputation is on the line. You draw on God grace and fulfil your pledge. That’s what a man or woman of integrity does, even if they have to do it on ‘credit’.
5. It is the proof that you are grateful to God for His Priceless Gift to you
Lastly, your determination to meet your spouse’s basic needs is proof that you value the ‘priceless gift of a spouse’ that God has given to you. No, your spouse is not perfect. Your partner may not even be all you had hope for. But at least you have a partner. That makes you more blessed than millions of people in our world who go to their graves lonely and alone every year.
Also, the object of marriage is not to start with a perfect partner, but to end with one, as you sharpen and build each other. In short, your marriage is often the tool God uses to mature and perfect you and your spouse. So, be grateful for the ‘gift’ you have, because that’s what will motivate you to keep pressing on when times are tough.
As I conclude my thoughts on this chapter, I want to add that our needs generally change over time. Even when they don’t completely change, our order of priority often does. For instance, your basic needs may change when a child is born, or when the child starts school, or even when all your children have left home. As my wife and I have gotten older, we’ve noticed a shift in the intensity and order of our basic needs.
When that happens in your relationship, I encourage you to talk about it again and (if necessary) reorganise your life to meet the new needs. At each point sacrifice, flexibility, commitment and understanding will be required from the two of you, but the result can be magical.
In addition, you would have learnt to serve your spouse in a way that uplifts him/her and in a way that pleases the Lord. God is not unjust to overlook such a sacrifice and He promises to reward you for honouring His instructions.
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, as you minister to others…” (Hebrew 6:10.)
If you would get enthusiastic about intentionally meeting your spouse’s needs, your spouse would have no choice but to reciprocate if he/she has a conscience. But more importantly, you would have the satisfaction of knowing that you honoured God and did what was right in His sight. That kind of satisfaction is ‘worth its weight in gold’.
1 1 Corinthians 7:3.