Realizing that this does occur in some marriages, do we frequently hear or read about a spouse openly withholding emotional love? ...or even verbalizing it by saying, "I want to stay married to you but do not expect me to meet your emotional needs as a spouse. It is just not in me and it is not important to our relationship. If your emotional needs are more than I can fulfill, you can get a dog."
How often does a spouse who is a professing Christian say, "I do not think that God minds if I am rarely in the mood to be spiritually united with you so we can just not be concerned about it. God will not mind because I am a generally good person. Do you need more spirituality than what we have? Just go pray more or lower your spiritual expectations. Don't ask me to raise mine.”
How common is it to hear about a married person entering the marriage with no intention of being sexually generous? Or at some point in the marriage they become sexually selfish and think or say, “No biggie. It is just sex. I will decide when and how the gate opens and you can just adjust to what I decide. This works for me! Look at how well I do all these other things. You can let me slide on this one thing.”
Sometimes in my head I compare this to an employee who in their work place has maybe 6 responsibilities given to them by their employer. But the employee takes it upon himself to pick and choose which responsibilities he will carry out and which he will ignore. His boss then asks him, “What is up with that? I really like you. You seem to be a good person but I gave you 6 duties to regularly carry out and you have only been doing 2 of them. For our working relationship to be successful I need for you to do all 6. And the employee tells him, “I am doing 2 of the 6. I stay busy. It is not like I am not doing anything. Look at the excellent work I give you with these 2 duties. I do not see why you are dissatisfied with my work. Why are you complaining? Perhaps your expectations are too high.”
If you were the employer how would that attitude fly by you? On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being “poor rating” and 10 being “excellent” how would you evaluate this employee? If they refused to comply with your requests would you keep them on and hope that they change or would you send them on their way?
Do we too often separate the components of a healthy marriage relationship? And if we do, which one or ones typically get left out and why? How do we justify offering two-thirds or even half of ourselves to the marriage table? Can you think of any other relationship where this would be acceptable or even tolerated? Sure, none of us are perfect but should we not be rigorously working on all areas of our marriage and working on them throughout our entire marriage? Was there anything in your wedding vows which allows for us to be partial spouses rather than whole ones? Is there ever a time when “1 plus 2/3's can equal 2”?