My husband, Tommy, and I are going on 29 years of marriage. We’ve learned so much, but marriage will always be a process of stretching the muscles of our heart, soul, and mind. In our imperfect humanness and an incredibly broken world, we will never arrive to the perfect marriage, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to get there.
I have worked outside of the home off and on, but for these 29 years I have mostly and happily been a stay at home wife and mom. I have depended on my husband’s provision and help for myself and our family.
When bitterness hovers over me in regards to being needy, I remember that this is how God created me to be. I don’t like being dependent but there are things I simply cannot do alone. I am a weaker vessel. Yep, I just said that. I know it’s an unpopular statement but I believe it to be biblical and true, as hard as it is for me to admit at times.
My husband recently had knee surgery. He was to be off of work for a few days and would need my help. Or so I thought.
I cleared my schedule, stocked the freezer with frozen peas (ice packs) and planned to nurse him back to health. It turns out that the doctor prescribed a healing protocol of “whatever you are comfortable doing.” Tommy is physically healthy and inherited the inability to sit still. He never needed his prescribed pain meds. He only took ibuprofen a couple of times.
I stayed close and on the ready. I waited for him to need me. But he didn’t. Feelings of sadness and unimportance surfaced, as if my presence was insignificant. It hurt to not be needed by him and reinforced my already insecure thoughts of being a burden.
Generally, I think it is culturally accepted that wives need their husbands. It is not commonly accepted, however, that husbands, as the leader and provider, should need their wives. I’d like to propose a challenge to this way of thinking.
What if being needy is not a sign of weakness but a symbol of love?
I asked my husband if he would share his thoughts on the topic of husbands being needy and he graciously agreed. The portion below are his words.
I was raised to be mostly independent. I say mostly because I never learned to do laundry until I moved out of my parent’s home. But otherwise I am independent and like to take care of everything for myself. I despise having to ask for help and it is a hard thing for me to do.=
I have been the same way in my relationship with Andrea. I work through my emotions on my own. If I need something done I will typically do it for myself.
One day Andrea said to me, “You don’t need me. If I wasn’t here your life would go on fine. You do everything for yourself.”
I didn’t realize the weight of that statement at the time. For me it was a good thing to do it all. Andrea was free to do whatever she wanted and needed to do without me being a burden to her.
Then I read Gary Thomas’ book Cherish. People talk about how to love your spouse all the time but rarely does anyone talk about what it means to cherish. And that is the focus of Gary Thomas’ book. To love AND to cherish. One small section hit me pretty hard and reminded me of what Andrea had told me earlier.
“One of the best ways to cherish your spouse is to need him or her and let them know it. My wife doesn’t want to feel kept or even cherished, if by cherish you mean treating her like a fragile porcelain doll on a pedestal. She wants to feel valuable. Feeling valuable is what makes her feel cherished.
Some of you run yourself ragged because you don’t want to “bother” your spouse. You don’t realize that an occasional “hey, I really need you to help me with this” can be a gift of affirmation. It validates your spouse’s worth. It can make them feel cherished. Plus, it trains your brain to cherish your spouse in return.” – Gary Thomas, Cherish
One of the ways I have found I need Andrea is to verbalize the way I am feeling. It helps me in ways I didn’t realize it would until I did it. And Andrea listens without judgement.
We live in the UK and are moving back to Texas soon. So we bought a house in the US while living overseas. I realized I needed Andrea to help to do all that is required to buy a house from a distance. It was healthy for us both to share the load.
I need Andrea’s affirmation. I need her touch. I need her presence. I need her prayers. I need her companionship. And I am sure there are other ways I need her that I do not even realize yet. Now I know to look for those ways.
I am still not good at it. But I am learning.
– Tommy Stunz
Being needy and being needed require a significant level of vulnerability. It is risky, to be sure, but I urge husbands and wives to consider the benefits.
It is highly likely that on your wedding day, the real words of promise that you spoke to one another included to love, to honor and to “be needy”.