How to Win the Tug of War with Needs in a Christian Marriage ft #NeedsInrelationships #needsandwants #ThingsINeed #31 Ways to Reclaim Joy in a Christian Marriage #JoyInMarriage #MarriageGodsWay #JoyQuotes #JoyScriptures #ChooseJoy #ChristianMarriage #ChristianMarriagequotes #ChristianMarriageadvice #RelationshipQuotes #StrongMarriage

How to Win the Tug of War with Needs in a Christian Marriage

When my husband and I (Natalia Drumm) got married we were taught about marriage needs. He would have needs, I would have needs and we would spend the rest of our lives doing this tug of war with one another to get our needs satisfied.  When we are stuck in a Tug of war, Joy is in short supply…

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We lived in that Tug of War with Needs for years

Each of us needs different things, each of us feeling frustrated, selfish, selfless, self-righteous, etc. for nearly a decade of our marriage.  Until one day a lightbulb went on for us.

As my husband and I were preparing for a marriage conference we were speaking at for church, we began discussing this tug of war we encountered. You know how it works

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He has a need. She has a need. So who wins the tug of war battle????

Please, for the love of all things holy, please don’t tell me we are the only ones who struggle with this tug of war of real and necessary needs?!?!

So in the course of our conversation, I said, “Well whoever is the more mature, less selfish person at the moment gives up their needs for their spouse’s need.” {I’m feeling all kinds of superior at this moment as I answer him…after all, I’ve remembered the lessons we learned in the Love & Respect class we took at church… below this post for anyone wanting to learn more about building a strong marriage.}

To which my husband responded, “What if there’s a bigger need? Does the “marriage unit” have a need? What if there are more needs than just yours or mine?”

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

WHAT? Wait a minute. More needs?

I’m dealing with the needs of a lot of people!  I’m not sure I can handle dealing with more needs, and none of our church curriculums on marriage discussed the “marriage” having needs.  How am I going to figure this one out!?   Can you relate?  If you’re saying that in your head too you’re not alone.  But trust me, this one is worth learning about.

As my husband and I talked out this idea we began to realize we were playing tug of war with each other in our marriage.   But we were on the same team! Tug of war was pitting us against each other, instead of for each other.

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What if we stopped viewing the needs of each other as opposing forces, and started looking at the needs of the marriage???

What are you talking about, Natalia?

How can the marriage have needs?

Well, let’s go back to our Friday night scenario and refocus on the “marriage” instead of the “spouses”.

The husband who comes home has a need for:

  • Sex and intimacy to connect with his wife
  • Protect his sexuality
  • And satisfy the physical needs of his body.

The wife has a need for:

  • Physical rest
  • An emotional need for support
  • And a very real need to feel validated and supported by her husband to encourage and empower her in the roles she plays for her family.

Both of those needs are real and equally valuable.

If either of those needs are not met, or even worse, are dismissed then the marriage begins to deteriorate.

Both of those needs need to be met for the sake of the marriage.  However, on Friday night this week, both needs can’t be met simultaneously, so which wins???

Let’s pause for a moment and address the elephant in the room.  If your marriage is in trouble this will seem overwhelming.  It may be best to start in a different place – get help that goes deeper.  If that’s you, be sure to check out the Marriage Course Finding Hope and Joy in my Marriage in the HopeJoyInChrist Shop!

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Well, it depends on what the “Christian Marriage unit” needs.

Maybe the Christian Marriage needs something greater than either sex or sleep!

How to Win the Tug of War with Needs in a Christian Marriage

Now, view whatever struggle you’re facing in your marriage- be it sex, finances, child-rearing, etc.  Chances are the struggle is a combination of both your needs and your husband’s needs, but sift past each person’s need and determine what does the “marriage” need more than what does each “spouse” need?

For example:

  • Say you have come through a few busy days where both you and your husband are tired and haven’t had sex.
  • Neither party is interested at the moment.
  • But you’re both aware of the fact:
    • If the marriage goes too long without a physical connection
    • If too much time lapses between intimacy
    • Emotional walls begin to be built
  • Instead of viewing each other as having needs, you’re both viewing the marriage as having a need for intimacy and as team players working toward the same goal.

We now have conversations that go like, “I know we are both tired and don’t feel up to it, but we should probably have sex and make time for our marriage tonight. What does our marriage need most right now?”

Sometimes the answer to that is sex. Sometimes it’s time. Other times it conversation. Some nights its prayer. Cuddling together. Or even just watching a television show together on the sofa and laughing over ice cream.

Now, instead of tug of war, we find common ground and work together to build a thriving and flourishing marriage.

It’s a tricky game this thing called marriage. We can make two steps forward and then one step back. But the point is we’re always still making forward progress. And progress is progress.  It’s amazing what happens when we work as a team

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Natalia Drumm

Natalia is a lover of Jesus, chocolate chip cookies and cold Coke. She is wife to her high school sweetheart and they raise their three boys in Southwest Florida. Natalia writes for Lifeway as an assignment writer for Journey and seeks to encourage women in their faith to be rooted in the love of Christ. Natalia’s passion is for building community with others as they grow their connection with Jesus, which led her to begin writing a series of devotional study books called Girlfriends in the Word. Learn more about her and subscribe online for free devotionals at