“I’m leaving!” “I think we should get a divorce!” “Why did you sleep with her?”
More than ever in recent history has there been more divorces and separations than in our present society. Over 50% of all marriages fail, over 90% of all common-law relationships fail. Why?
The moral fiber of our society has crumbled where only our personal desires on a very self-centered level prevail, the boundaries of individuals and society are almost non-existent, and where there is no virtue of love there is no sacrifice or self-denial where the meeting of your spouse’s needs are no longer met or terribly misunderstood.
The break up of a relationship is either where one person has had enough of their partner’s behaviour or lack of it and leaves or when adultery occurs and is discovered.
Adultery is a difficult matter because of the betrayal that is involved. To convince the offended spouse to work things out is difficult. But for the sake of the children it is important to work things out where possible.
One major reason that break up of marriage occurs is because of basic emotional needs that are not being met and more than likely this has been the case for quite some time.
In case you haven’t noticed, the needs of men and the needs of women are quite different. Hollywood and other media have for decades been preaching their gospel of free love! Love is never free and there is always a price tag on it. Love is much like merchandise, when we go into a store we can either purchase it or steal it in order to have it. In either case ultimately you will pay for that merchandise is some manner. As the saying goes, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later!” Even in the don’t pay a cent events of many furniture store you still have to pay!
Love is worth it! Genuine fulfilling love first comes from God, by very nature that it exists, and when I’m saying love, I don’t mean sex.
Let’s consider a few things. In the English language we basically have only one word that says love, in other languages, like the Greek language there are four words for love: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.
Agape is a divine love, a supernatural love that involves a giving out of compassion looking for nothing in return from any one. It is an unconditional love. This word was first used around the time of Christ to reveal this selfless love.
Phileo love is what we are all very familiar with, it is a scratch my back, scratch your back kind of love. It is a conditional love. A love of mutual friendship. We use this word in words such as: philanthropist, acidophilus.
Storge love is that of physical affection separate from sexual expression, such as a mother or father hugging and kissing their child. A friend hugging another friend.
Eros love is sexual love. In English we have transliterated this word into erotic.
Now, it is quite obvious, I think, that eros love needs to exist in a marriage in order for it flourish. But! If you don’t have the other three loves we discussed then eros won’t work!
This is one of the greatest of ignorances that can exist in our society. Meeting each other’s emotional needs is imperative to agape, phileo, storge and eros loves, otherwise the marriage will breakdown and fail!
Another very important point is to understand the differences between love as a virtue and love as an emotion. We can see that in the above descriptions of love but I wanted to spell it out a bit more, define it if you will.
In our society we have emphasized the emotions of love, ‘feelings’, instead of the virtue of love, which involves, wisdom, integrity, and good overall character of a human being.
All too often when couples come to me for counseling I hear most singing their own praises of their virtues of love and all too often they are living in a pipe dream.
Humility and meekness are key virtues of human character that allows us to change and become better and happier people, yes, even in marriage!
Ok, let’s have a brief look at some of our basic needs in marriage. First, we will look at the man.
The man’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:
- Sexual intimacy
- Recreational/fellowship companionship
- An attractive spouse (what pleases a man is subjective)
- Domestic support
The woman’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:
- Affection (verbal and physical)
- Conversation (fellowship)
- Honesty and openness
- Financial support
- Family commitment
There is much to be said on each point, which can be explored further at a later time but this information is more fully explained in the book, “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard Harley.
Underlying these emotional needs is the deep need for mutual respect, which is an attitude held and conveyed to each other.
Marriage is worth investing in. Most marriages don’t last or thrive because too often people think they will just live happily ever after or they have a let’s see approach.
Commitment on both people’s parts is imperative to make the marriage work. If you are not committed to each other and the marriage then the marriage will probably fail in this current societal environment. Whatever you invest in and value you will spend time and money to make it work and marriage is the best investment you will ever make if you maintain it and work at loving each other the way your spouse wants to be loved!