Do you ever look at other couples with envy? They seem happy and content in their marriage while you feel alone and dissatisfied.

There are many causes of marital dissatisfaction, including not having our needs met. Whether we realize it or not, we have needs that we expect our spouses to meet. When those needs aren’t met, our marriage suffers. Our spouses also have needs that should only be met by us. Unfortunately, when needs aren’t met by spouses, one or both can turn to others to meet those needs, which can lead to extramarital affairs.

What do you need from your spouse? How has your spouse met that need?

What does your spouse need from you? When was the last time you made a conscious effort to meet one of his/her needs? Have you been withholding from your spouse because your needs aren’t being met?

I have a need to feel connected to my husband. This means I want to know what he’s thinking and feeling, from how his day went to the deeper thoughts hidden inside. My husband needs to feel respected by me. He needs to know that I am proud of him and believe in him. It isn’t natural for my husband to share “details and feelings” with me, and it isn’t natural for me to affirm him. We love each other, but we are wired differently. It takes conscious effort for us to meet each others needs. If he doesn’t open up to me, it is very difficult for me to tell him he’s a great husband. If I make him feel like he is failing me, he shuts down and doesn’t want to open up to me. Complaining that my needs aren’t being met doesn’t make either of us feel good and rarely changes anything long-term.

In my marriage, if my husband opens up to me, I “feel” like affirming him. When I affirm him, he “feels” like connecting with me. Having our needs met makes us “feel” like meeting the other person’s needs. If I don’t “feel” it, I have a choice. I can either suffer and make my spouse miserable too, or I can take the first step and reach out to my spouse.

How? First, I have to humble myself and realize that marriage isn’t all about my needs. If my needs aren’t being met, there is a good chance that I am failing to meet my husband’s needs. Am I willing to reach out in love to meet his needs even if he is not meeting mine? Love involves sacrifice and dying to self. Do I truly love my husband? Am I willing to put him first? If I do, then I need to strive to meet his needs. I need to put forth the effort to provide what he needs even if I don’t feel like it. If I don’t know what he needs, I must be willing to ask him with a humble heart. As I work to meet his needs, he may not reciprocate right away by meeting my needs. If his heart is wounded, a little kindness will not heal him immediately. I must be willing to continue meeting his needs. It is also natural for me to try to meet his needs how I want my needs to be met. Instead of affirming him, I may try extra hard to connect with him. Giving him what I want does not meet his needs.

How can you meet your husband’s needs today? What can you do this week? This month?

If you feel overwhelmed by marriage difficulties, do not be afraid or too proud to seek professional help. If we have a physical sickness, we are willing to seek medical help. If our marriage is sick, we need to be willing to seek counseling. Pride should not keep you from getting help. Pride has no place in a marriage.