No – you can’t eat tonight!
Imagine you sign a contract with a grocery store that you will only purchase food from their store and no where else. You promise that you won’t go to restaurants or fast foods – you won’t go any where else to get the food that you eat. It’s a wonderful arrangement, because you love their food and they have such a variety to choose from. Your favorite is their bakery full of delectable delights; cinnamon rolls, brownies, pies, cheesecake, cookies, and of course the desert you crave the most – chocolate marble cake. You look over all of their food, the meats, the dairy, the staples, etc., and you imagine how glorious it is going to taste. All that your stomach desires you can get at this grocery store so you don’t mind the exclusive clause. The contract is legally binding and there are severe financial penalties if you break the contract. Why would you ever want to break the contract? You can’t conceive that ever happening!
At first it is wonderful, it is convenient and you are enjoying this arrangement. Life is good and you enjoy gourmet meals, simple meals, quick meals, and fancy meals. However after a couple of years something starts to change. The selection seems to be decreasing and the variety and quality of the food is not what it use to be. Then after more time passes you go to the store, but you find the store is closed – and there is a sign telling you to come back another time. So you do, and it’s closed again, and again, and again. You are getting really hungry, and angry. You consider going somewhere else – but you stop as you think about the contract you signed, you made a commitment and you are bound by it. You can not purchase food anywhere else, without paying a heavy heavy price. “It’s not fair” you think, “they are suppose to have food for me to choose from. They are suppose to be open so that I can buy my food here. I am keeping my side of the contract, but they are not keeping theirs.”
One morning, your stomach grumbling wakes you and you realize you are starving. It’s been a long time since you last ate, so you decide to try again and make a trip to the store. It’s open but all the shelves are empty, all except in the bakery, where they have your favorite, chocolate marble cake sitting on a table.
Your mouth starts to water, you lick your lips as you reach out to pick up the cake. You are so hungry and so excited to take a bite. Just as you touch the container, the grocery store owner slaps your hand away and snatches up the cake. “No – I’m sorry you can’t have that today!” she says. “But we have an agreement, I can only buy food here and nowhere else. I am keeping my end of the contract, but there has been less and less food over the years, and every time I drive here lately, you are closed. I am starving, I have not eaten for weeks. What am I suppose to do for food!”, you wail.
“Oh – Quit whining – you are too fat anyways – you need to lose weight. Besides, you only think you are hungry – you don’t need to eat. You just need to practice some self control!” She takes the cake and walks away – before you can respond. Standing there feeling frustrated, hungry, and really angry – confounded, you scream loudly “What’s in this contract for me? This just isn’t right and not the way it’s suppose to be!” She keeps walking away with the cake as if she did not even hear you!
Silly story? Is it? Isn’t this exactly what is happening in many marriages around the world?
Willard F. Harley, Jr. author of “His needs, her needs” states: “When a man and woman marry, they share high expectations. They commit themselves to meeting certain intense and intimate needs in each other on an exclusive basis. Each agrees to “forsake all others,” giving each other the exclusive right to meet these intimate needs. That does not imply that all needs are to be met by a spouse, but that there are a few basic needs that most of us strictly reserve for the marriage bond. Most people expect their spouses to meet these special needs, since they have agreed not to allow anyone else to meet them.
For example, when a man agrees to an exclusive relationship with his wife, he depends on her to meet his sexual need. If she fulfills this need, he finds in her a continuing source of intense pleasure, and his love grows stronger. However, if his need goes unmet, quite the opposite happens. He begins to associate her with frustration. If the frustration continues, he may decide she “just doesn’t like sex” and may try to make the best of it. But his strong need for sex remains unfulfilled. His commitment to an exclusive sexual relationship with his wife has left him with the choice of sexual frustration or infidelity. Some men never give in; they manage to make the best of it over the years. But many do succumb to the temptation of an affair. I have talked to hundreds of them in my counseling offices.”
Some men are starving – sexually – and yet their wives just don’t get it. They expect them to develop self control, learn to live with it, and accept it, yet keep their end of the commitment and stay loyal and faithful! I was one of these wives for many years. I was a fool!