Longing in Marriage
By Jennifer Waddle
O Lord, all my longing is before You; my sighing is not hidden from You. - (Psalm 38:9)
Today, many couples experience intense longings that go unnoticed and unfulfilled. They settle into a place of co-existence, without much hope of having a marriage that is thriving and complete.
If this describes your situation, may I encourage you today? The Lord hears your sighing. He sees your disappointment. He knows the longing of your heart and the discontentment in your soul. And, I can truthfully say that He longs for you to have so much more.
The “more” I’m talking about isn’t more money, more things, or even more attention from your spouse. For money will not make your marriage rich. Things will not make your marriage full. And more attention will not bring lasting fulfillment. More of any earthly thing will not help your marriage be what God designed it to be. There is only one thing that can fill the deeper longing, and that is Christ Himself.
“… that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
I promise, this isn’t a devotion about simply getting more Jesus in your life. Rather, it’s about being rooted and grounded in the love of Christ before you tackle the root issues of your marital longings.
In your pursuit to fill your unmet needs, have you ever asked yourself these questions:
Do I truly love Jesus first and foremost?
Do I love my spouse next to Jesus?
What is the one thing I want most from my spouse?
How have I encouraged that one thing?
How have I discouraged that one thing?
These questions take you deeper than the surface issues of discontentment. They get to the heart of the matter so you can define your true longing.
First, you have to get honest with yourself and God about your priorities. Are you loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength? Next, are you loving your spouse as Christ loved the church? Are you submitting to one another as unto the Lord? These are the foundations of a fulfilled marriage. Without them, our attempts at filling our longings will always come up empty.
Next, you need to identify exactly what it is you want from your spouse. What are your key longings at the moment? So often, we mask our deeper needs with trivial things such as,
I wish he would do the dishes.
I wish she would instigate intimacy.
I wish he would compliment the way I look.
I wish she would let me make decisions for our family.
The root issues, however, go much deeper.
I long for true teamwork in our marriage.
I long for uninhibited intimacy.
I long to know that he has eyes only for me.
I long for respect.
When we take an honest look at our true needs, and identify them appropriately, we can then determine if we are encouraging the fulfillment of those longings, or discouraging them.
For example, if you’ve been longing for more undivided attention from your spouse, how have you encouraged it? How have you discouraged it? Is there any chance you’ve been unknowingly sabotaging that one thing?
Longings in marriage do not need to go unfulfilled. As we seek unity, first with our Creator, then with each other, we can work towards filling unmet needs and expectations. It just takes a little digging to get to the root of the longing.
Jennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
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