From When Sinners Say I Do, by Dave Harvey
“Needs are not wrong; we all have them. They exist as daily reminders that we were created as dependent beings, in fundamental need of God and his provision for our lives. But maintaining a distinction between genuine needs and those needs invented by a self-indulgent culture is essential for a healthy marriage.
“Is it wrong to desire the gentle caress of a husband’s hand or the kind words from a wife’s tongue? Absolutely not. But even things that are good for a marriage can be corrupted if they are defined as needs. The problem is not that we desire—desire is completely nature; it’s that our desires become juiced with steroids. Calvin called our desires “inordinate.”
“It’s not wrong to desire appropriate things like respect or affection from our spouses. But it is very tempting to justify demands by thinking of them as needs and then to punish one another is those needs are not satisfied. A needs-based marriage does not testify to God’s glory; it is focused on personal demands competing for supremacy. Two people, preoccupied with manipulating each other to meet needs, can drive their marriage down the path of “irreconcilable differences.” This is cultural language that simply acknowledges that a marriage can no longer carry the weight of demands understood as needs.
“Perhaps though, the saddest part of driving down the road of unmet needs is where we end up. The road of unmet needs leads to nowhere. It is a forlorn, one-lane stretch of me. All it leads to is more of me. It’s worse than a dead end—it’s a road that never ends.
“But sinners who say “I do” have a different road to travel. It is the road of astonishing, undeserved grace—a grace so remarkable that is shows us the problem and then delivers the solution. Have you ever been on a scenic drive so beautiful that it was hard to keep your head from spinning from one vista to the next? The road of undeserved grace is like that. “