Noisy Needs

January 25, 2013

in the generous life

♥ ♥ ♥ 20 days to Valentine’s Day! ♥ ♥ ♥

I want you to imagine two hands (if you want to, hold up your own hands). One hand is your husband and the other hand is you.

The fingers represent the different kinds of intimacy that you both need (physical, relational, spiritual, etc.). Each finger emits a noise. As the intimacy needs grow, the fingers get noisier and some fingers get noisier faster than others. The noise from one finger can drown out the noise of the other fingers.

It’s pretty easy to see that there will be a conflict of needs here. One of you may be so hungry for physical intimacy that you can’t even hear your other needs or understand (or have patience with) your spouse’s differing hungers. And the spouse with a emotional or spiritual need will be hurting in much the same way.

So what to do?

I like the concept of stewardship.

You are each responsible to take care of the other’s intimacy needs (in a healthy way). That’s a broader picture than we are normally made aware of. We usually hear things like, “have more sex” or “have a date night.” Those might be reasonable choices in dealing with intimacy needs, but the hunger is for closeness, connection … to be known. You need all forms of intimacy to make that happen.

As a steward you need to know your spouse well enough to take care of the noisy fingers to the degree that they feel satisfied and can begin to “hear” and enjoy the other kinds of intimacy. It’s a package deal even though your spouse at first may only be aware of his noisiest needs.

Don’t get locked into the usual answers. Pray and brainstorm. Someone who is hungry for physical intimacy will want and need sex, but they may also enjoy a little pillow talk or a “thank you God for the great sex” prayer. Relational intimacy means spending time together, but that can look like exchanging massages, serving together in youth ministry or just sharing a dessert.

It might be helpful to talk about these concepts with your sweetie.

Because this works both ways, you need to be prepared to explain your needs (as clearly and simply as possible) and then be willing to trust him to do his job while you listen to his needs and work on your stewardship responsibilities.

Remind each other that you will make mistakes, but you can just continue to learn, try new things and build upon what you know.

Some husbands may not be willing, and that’s OK. It just means that you get to “go first.” The influence of example is greater than most of us know. Get started and watch the resulting changes. Perhaps when there’s a little less “noise” he will be more able and willing to listen. 

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4  ESV

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeannie January 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

This could be one of your best posts EVER !!! To visually see the needs and realize that when one need is screaming “HELP!!”, it drowns out all of the other needs. Oh, how I wish that I had known this when I was married. Everyone in relationships needs to understand this. Who knows how many marriages, friendships, and families could be saved !! Thank you for making it SIMPLE to understand. Now to be aware of all of the options for meeting those needs — of course, we could just “ask”. Hmmmm, novel idea.


The Generous Wife January 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Thanks so much. I’m always looking for simple ways of explaining concepts.


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