So, I meant to publish this two weeks ago. Then last week. Both weeks, I realized on Wed that I hadn’t published it! So here it finally is…
I have to chuckle sometimes at the comments I get from church members, and have gotten in every church we have ever served.
“You make sure to make him behave!”
“It’s a good thing he’s got you to keep him in line.”
“Keep him out of trouble, now.”
It’s all in good fun, and I always make sure to respond in fun as well. But, usually not quite in the expected way.
“Behave? Well, that’s no fun!”
“Oh, he keeps me in line!”
“I’d just get him in more trouble!”
There is a reality to our marriage that I am reminded of with each of these conversations: my husband does not need me.
It’s true! My husband is one of the most capable, reliable, sufficient people I know. He can handle himself everywhere he goes. If he doesn’t know how to do something, he knows how to get help. He does not actually need me.
Now, the reality is that Doug and I rely on each other. I am more comfortable in certain roles than he is, and vice versa. Also, the demands of our jobs, ministry, and life in general mean that certain tasks naturally fall into my hands or his. Were he to have to do the things that I usually do, he would struggle to keep it all balanced. But that is more because, between the two of us, we do more than can fit into the scope of a 24-hour day. So, we do heavily rely on one another. And that’s the way it should be. But true need is a different concept entirely.
The Real Need
We have all probably met someone who desperately needs to be needed. They often create situations of codependency because of this need. If we’re honest with ourselves, we will admit that we have at least a small bit of that tendency within us; we all desire to be needed by others. But, that is not how God created us. Yes, He designed us for community, but as individuals, He intended that we have only one need: Himself!
That’s right, our real need is Christ and Christ alone. He fills us. He supplies us. He is all-sufficient.
So, where do relationships fit in? God chooses to use us to meet the needs of one another within the community. But the provision still comes from His own hands. He grants us different gifts, talents, strengths, and weaknesses so we will choose to divide and conquer, work together, and be a beautiful example of love for this world. Not because we need one another, but because we rely on one another as we express our need for Him alone and let Him fulfill our needs in any way He chooses – through community or through some other form of intervention.
That is not less true in the marriage relationship. We need Christ. Period. As we rely on Him, He then uses each of us to meet the needs of the other. But He is our only real need.
It is actually quite freeing to know that Doug does not need me. That his real need is for the Lord Jesus Christ, and that I just get to be the Lord’s vessel. It is not always easy to step aside and let that truth reign in our marriage, because I do share that desire to be needed. But, when I do step aside, our marriage is so much more powerfully fulfilled.
May you, too, know the freedom of not being needed!