Basic Human Needs and Marriage

Abraham Maslow, a psychological theorist, states that we all have basic human needs.  He placed the needs on a continuum in the shape of a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid are the physical needs of oxygen, food, water, elimination of waste, protection from temperature extremes, sex and sleep. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things, but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:33). As married couples, we can support each other by providing food and shelter from the elements through our sources of income, loving arms to keep us warm, lovemaking, and peaceful sleep beside each other.   According to Maslow, the physical needs must be satisfied before the psychological and social needs can be met.  

Continuing upward from the base beyond the physical needs is our need to feel safe and secure. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can boldly say: “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me.” (Heb. 13:5b-6). As married couples, we can make each other feel safe by not causing our partners to worry or doubt our love for each other. Keeping the marriage relationship safe is our first obligation after our obligation to God.  Some examples of providing safety are: husbands provide protection by being present, make sure your wife is secure in the car before you get in, and locking the doors at night, etc.  Wives make a house a home by providing a place of love and peace, and a safe place to rest your head at night.

After our need to feel safe is our basic need to be loved, to give love, and to belong.  And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him (Gen. 2:18). Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, He made into woman and brought her to the man (Gen. 2:22). We love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). First we belong to God, and then we belong to each other. Marriage is God’s first institution. Have you ever heard the expression, “love isn’t love until you give it away”?  We show each other love by giving it away to each other through lovemaking and physical touch, showing desire, through our loving and kind words, being respectful, and claiming each other (my, mine). Adam and Eve belonged to each other. Marriage is honorable, and the marriage bed undefiled (Heb. 13:4). He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord (Prov. 18:22).

We all have in our own mind an idea of how we appear and how we wish to appear to others.  Our self esteem, the next basic need on the pyramid, can depend on whether our physical needs have been met. Maybe our physical needs have been met, but do we feel safe and secure in our relationship? Am I loved, or do I feel loved?  We may say to ourselves, I’m not smart, pretty, thin enough, or strong enough. Our confidence should be in the Lord.  We are loved. We are beautiful. We are smart enough. We have unmerited favor with God.  We are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). We are the head and not the tail (Deut. 28:13). Many scriptures support how we should feel about ourselves and how God sees us, and so we are what God says we are.  Support your own esteem and the esteem of your mate by assisting each other to attain their individual goals. Give compliments and words of affirmation (praise).  Show pride that they belong to you. Self esteem can be fragile; always show love.

The basic human need at the very top of the pyramid is self-actualization.  This is when we are at our best. Our physical needs have been met.  We feel safe and secure. God loves me.  My spouse loves and esteems me.  Life is good.  This is where we find our highest self.  Our creativity shines forth.  We believe what God says about us.  Married couples can help each other achieve this phase by encouraging individuality and creativity.  The miracle of God took two “I’s” and through marriage, made us a “we.”  The “I” still exists.  Let us create a home together, pray together, become who God has called us to be, worship together, dance and/or sing.  You can still pray alone, dance, and write; whatever your creative gift is.

God resides in all the needs.  He is our air, our food and shelter.  He loves us; we belong to Him.  Our esteem lies in Him.  We will forever self-actualize as we continue striving to be more like Him.  As marriage partners love and support each other’s individual needs, which can change randomly, let us pray that God will help us to recognize what our spouse needs from us, and to help us to be a helpmeet to one another.
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