I have never felt as deeply loved as I have longed to be. I am expecting you to meet that need through gentle affection even when I’m growling, thoughtful consideration whether I am always sensitive to you or not, and an accepting, romantic sensitivity to my emotional needs. I want you to treat me as the most important person in the world. Don’t let me down.

A marriage bound together by commitments to exploit the other for filling one’s own needs (and I fear that most marriages are built on such a basis) can legitimately be described as a “tick on a dog” relationship. Just as a hungry tick clamps on to a nourishing host in anticipation of a meal, so each partner unites with the other in the expectation of finding what his or her personal nature demands. The rather frustrating dilemma, of course, is that in such a marriage there are two ticks and no dog!

Every person alive has experienced sometime the profound hurt of finding rejection when he or she longed for acceptance. We come into marriage hoping for something different, but inevitably we soon encounter some form of criticism or rejection. The pain that results is so intense that it demands relief. So we retreat behind protective walls of emotional distance, angry with our partners for letting us down so badly, unwilling to meet again at the level of deep needs for fear of experiencing more pain.


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 Option 4: Depend on the Lord to meet our needs

Our personal needs for security and significance can be genuinely and fully met only in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. To put it another way, all that we need to function effectively as persons ( not necessarily to feel happy or fulfilled) is at any given moment fully supplied in relationship with Christ and in whatever he chooses to provide.


  1. We need to be secure. He loves us with a love we never deserved, a love that sees everything ugly within us yet accepts us, a love that we can do nothing to increase or decrease, a love that was forever proven at the cross, where Christ through his shed blood fully paid for our sins to provide us with the gift of an eternally loving relationship with God. In that love, I am secure.
  2. We need to be significant. The Holy Spirit has graciously and sovereignly equipped every believer to participate in God’s great purpose of bringing all things together in Christ. The body of Christ builds itself up through the exercise of each member’s gifts. We are enabled to express our value by ministering to others, encouraging our spouses, loving and training our children, enduring wrong without grumbling, and faithfully doing every- thing to the limits of our capacity for the glory of God. We can live in the confidence that God has set out a path of good works for us to follow (Ephesians 2:10) and that our obedience will con- tribute to fulfilling the eternal plan of God. These truths, when realized and acted upon, provide unparalleled significance.


Taken from The Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb. Copyright © 2013. Used by permission of Zondervan.