Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Unmet Marriage Needs, Part 1 of 3

Due to the controversial and sensitive nature of sexuality (the point of this 3 part post), I feel the need to remind readers that the purpose of this blog is bring up questions and struggles many people may have. Playing the devil's advocate is a very effective and good way to combat group think, which I believe is a major threat to authentic faith. I am NOT advocating for a particular position here, but rather pointing out an area of life that we, as a society, have not adequately addressed.

I also need to add a spoiler alert if you watch House and haven't seen last week's episode (the spoiler really won't affect much, though).

As I have mentioned before, marriage is not necessarily meant to meet all needs for individual. It hopefully meets most, but no individual or relationship is perfect, so not all needs will be met. This can create a variety of problems due to the modern romanticized marriage in which we expect all needs to be met in that single relationship. I think that's part of the reason the first year of marriage is so hard: It's beginning to debunk that myth.

In truly traditional marriage (not the false traditional marriage that is really based on a model of the 1950s), a person's needs were met in community. That takes pressure off the spouse to be everything to an individual. It's also useful for when one individual is incapacitated in some way (illness, death, etc.).

Now most needs if not fully met can be met outside of the marriage. For instance, (and again, I'm not saying my wife does not meet any of these--my phrasing is for the use of argument) is not emotionally available to me. Well, I can go to friends. Frankly, most spouses are not always emotionally available (they can't be), so we NEED friends. Or if my wife is not available to do hobbies with, then I can do that with a friend. Even for chores around the house, I could hire a housekeeper.

All of these are socially, religiously, and psychologically acceptable means to getting needs met. In fact, they can help prevent divorce and affairs. Many affairs begin when one partner is not getting all of his or her (yes, her) needs met. It could even be 90%, but when we are missing something, we focus on that. So we find someone who meets that other 10%, feel filled up by them and think they're the solution. Then you have an affair, followed by divorce. And the cycle repeats. Recognizing the limitations of marriage and finding ways to get the needs met in a healthy way can help prevent this breakdown.

But how do we deal with this when sex is the unmet need? More on that tomorrow...

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