Previously, I had been posting whole chapters. However, this chapter is a ginormous 30 pages, so I'm going to break it into smaller sections. Text is in purple.
How Do I Need Thee? Let Me Count the Ways
A man needs a woman with his entire being-body, soul, and spirit. Every man knows his body needs his wife, but many do not know that their souls and spirits also have a deep need that only she can meet. Many men know by her complaints that they are not meeting their wife's needs. What they do not know is that the need they are most neglecting is the wife's need to be needed. Your wife needs you to need her in body, soul, and spirit, and she will never be content until you allow her to meet your needs. This is not something she can turn off. God created her with a female nature that finds fulfillment in being your suitable helper. Likewise, you will never truly cherish her until you welcome her to minister to your soul and spirit.
Cripes. The first paragraph of this chapter, and I'm already appalled. I think, out of all the stuff going on in this paragraph, what I'm finding the most unsettling is "she will never be content until you allow her to meet your needs." And this is apparently a God-given nature that can't be undone. Women are created to meet the needs of men. This has been the theme of the whole book. But to claim that what women want most is to be needed and the chance to meet the needs of a man? I'm calling bananas. Personally, my needs are: to be loved, taken seriously, pampered on occasion, and treat me like a human. To suggest that my husband will never really cherish me until he lets me "minister" to his needs reminds me too much of a previous abusive relationship to make me feel comfortable.
Men who complain about their wife's lack of sexual response are ignorant of the realities that women who are not allowed to meet the needs of their husband's soul feel used when they are called upon to meet the needs of his body. It's not that women don't like sex; they just want the sex to be an expression of something deeper than animal hunger. A cherished woman is a sexy woman.
I feel like Michael came really close to getting it right. I think a woman with needs that go unmet (in any area), is less likely to enjoy sex. Yes, she probably would feel used. However, suggesting it's because the woman wasn't allowed to meet the needs of her husband's soul (what are these needs, by the way?), she will be lackluster in the bedroom seems a bit...bizarre. I do agree that women (and men!) want sex to be something more than lust. Sometimes. Sometimes animal hunger is nice, too. Also, may I point out, it took 4 chapters, but finally Michael is addressing women as women. Not creatures, beings, or girls. Hooray!
I need my wife's companionship. Everybody needs a friend. I have had many friends with whom I have shared experiences. There have been fishing and hunting buddies, guys to like to work on cars and tractors, or another woodworker who loves table saws. Other friends like to discuss the Bible, and some enjoy a good laugh, but there is only one person in the entire world of whom I can say, "This is my very best friend," and that person is my wife. I would rather spend time with her than anyone I know. I never tire of her presence.
Wow. I agree with almost the entire paragraph. Everybody does need a friend, and it's especially nice to have a best friend that you like to have around. While I would rather spend time with my husband than with anyone else, sometimes I get tired of his presence. Sometimes alone time is OK. And look, what a nice compliment he paid his wife!
There are some places I go where my wife would rather I take someone else. She doesn't want to get up at four in the morning and head to the lake to fish in the hot sun all day. But she does like to go for a short fishing trip and picnic once or twice a year. It is all about how you make her feel. If she's jealous of your friends, it's an indication that you are not allowing her to be your number one companion. When a wife knows that you enjoy her companionship, she is much more willing to allow you to go do those man things without her.
This started off so well. Why should you make your wife feel like your number one? So she'll let you go do "man things" with your man buddies. Not because it's important to her. Not because a man should want to make his wife feel loved and special. Because it allows him to do what he wants elsewhere.
If she ever gets the feeling that you are choosing other friends because you like them better, then be certain you are failing to meet a need in her, and you are failing to allow one of your own needs to be met. Another man cannot truly meet your companionship needs. If you think he can, it demonstrates that you are a man only partially fulfilled.
It's true. If a wife feels that her husband likes her friends more than he likes her, then she definitely has a need that is going unfulfilled. And if I'm not mistaken, there's a sneaky little anti-gay reference. "Another man cannot truly meet your companionship needs." Trying this means you're not really a fulfilled man. How sad. I think it's fairly obvious that men can meet men's needs, (and women women's needs). Love and respect should be in every good relationship, regardless of sexuality.
I Need Her Fellowship
Aren't companionship and fellowship the same thing? Not at all. The word "fellowship" implies communing and communicating. It involves a transparent sharing of one's space. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? (1 Corinthians 2:11)". I spoke of needing our wives body, soul, and spirit. It is in the human spirit where fellowshipping takes place. Fellowship occurs as we walk in the light of honesty and truth. There is no fellowship walking in the darkness. Unless both parties are walking in the light of truth, they will not care to be open and transparent. A man with secret sins cannot fellowship with his wife. Likewise, if a husband or wife is critical they will not be open in fellowship. True fellowship draws strength and encouragement from the one with whom we commune. There is acceptance and lack of criticism in fellowship. It refreshes the spirit and encourages the soul.
I wish he would give dictionary definitions of the words he uses. Dictionary.com defines "fellowship" as: the condition or relationship of being a fellow (as in fellow human being), friendly relationship or companionship, community of interest or feeling or etc, communion as between members of the same church, and friendliness. I think it's odd that he doesn't define the word, but tells us what it implies.
A man who shuts himself off from communing with his wife is hiding his soul, either because she hurts him when he opens up or because he is concealing the darkness inside his soul. We need the fellowship of our wife because it has a sanctifying effect. She becomes a constant mirror of our soul. Every time we look upon her with openness we are forced to come into the light "that our deeds may be made manifest. (John 3:21)" Fellowship with our wife guarantees that we will never be able to walk in darkness without it being known. A man who learns to walk in darkness will always have the curtain drawn on his soul. His wife will never feel she has his heart. She will sense his distance. It is a place of safety for us guys to have a wife with whom we fellowship.
Call me crazy, but what he is calling "fellowship" here sounds a lot like honest communication. Seriously. Replace "fellowship" with honest communication (he implied that it's kindasorta the same above), and tell me that doesn't make way more sense. Why not just say communication? Fellowship brings to mind bringing a casserole to the new neighbours or something. And the thought of the wife mirroring the condition of the husband's soul is a bit off. Shouldn't she mirror the condition of her own soul? Though it is true that a man who doesn't communicate (or fellowship, if you must) with his wife will never make her feel like she has his heart. She will usually be uneasy and unsure. So fellas, have a good honest chat with your wives every now and again, K?
You need her fellowship, but she needs yours just as much. A man who does not have the fellowship of his wife will experience a great lack, but a woman who does not have the fellowship of her husband may become emotionally unstable. Many women base their self-worth on the companionship and fellowship of their husbands. Your wife was created to give herself in fellowship just as you were created to recieve it. Let her become your source of fellowship.
I'm really hoping every section will not end with "if you think it's bad for you, your wife will feel tons worse if you don't let her ______ for you!" I don't know how many women really do base their sense of self-worth on their husbands, but it sounds unhealthy. Though, I suppose, in a conservative Christian environment, women are to stay at home and produce and raise Godly children. Guess there's not much place for external validation. But still, there's a reason it's called SELF-esteem. Because, ideally, it should come from yourself. Not a man, not a boss, not God. But from you.
Coming up next time are a few more reasons why men need women. Or why women need men to need them, and in what ways. Take your pick.