Hello Friends,

On our last blog, we talked about selfishness and how when left unchecked it can and does destroy relationships.  I briefly touched on the fact that we can not expect our spouses to meet every single one of our needs. They were not created to do that and it is literally impossible for any one person to meet every single need of another person. Unfortunately, we have marriages that are falling apart because of this problem. We have couples that are demanding the impossible from each other and then getting upset when the other person falls short.

As you know I have been doing a lot of studying into personality and temperament types here lately. One of the things I have learned is that everyone has certain innate needs that they long for someone to meet. These things are not selfish, it is the way we were all created. Think of it like a gas tank in a car. The car needs gas to run. It is not selfish of the car it is a literal need. Without the gas, the car is not able to perform in the way it was created to perform. Another thing about a car is you have to continually fill it. It is not a one and done deal. It is something that we have to do on a regular basis if we are going to keep our car running. However, if we do continue to put gas in the car it will run smoothly and go as far as we need it to go.

The same is true for us. We each have an internal tank that needs to be filled every day in order for us to perform the way we were created to perform. The problem is (especially in a marriage relationship) that we go to the same person over and over to fill our tank. We come empty and when they do not fill us up or they try but do not succeed we take out our frustration on them with harsh words and actions.

The Dangers of Running on Empty

As I have taken this knowledge about innate needs and applied it to my life and the people around me I see that most people are indeed walking around on empty tanks. This is extremely sad and is the reason that most people snap over the smallest of situations. Running on empty will cause issues in your personal life but it can wreak havoc on your marriage. Unfortunately most of the time we are nicer to complete strangers than we are to our spouses. So if running on empty causes people to be snappy with other people just imagine what is being said and done behind closed doors. One reason I think we are harder on our spouses is that we genuinely expect them to be perfect and give us everything we need. Deep down we think that they should be able to read of minds and we selfishly want them to drop everything to focus on us and when they don’t we flip!

Like I said earlier… it is impossible for our spouses to meet our every need!

Warning Signs of an Empty Tank

Running on empty causes us to~

  • Become very selfish
    • The need itself is not selfish. It is how we go about getting it filled. When you are on empty you will do or say whatever you feel is necessary to get the need met.
    • You can become very demanding and hard to please
  • Become angry
    • If the need continues to go unmet or is not met in the way you want it to be you can become angry and can lash out at your spouse
    • This anger could show itself in the smallest of situations because you are not able to happen the situation well with nothing to run on
  • Damage relationships
    • When we lash out we say things and do things that can genuinely hurt the ones closest to us.
    • There is a sense of hopelessness that can come into the relationship because in most cases both people involved are unhappy but do not know what to do to fix the problem.

We are all going to say and do things we are not proud of from time to time but the good news is by making a few changes to adequately fill our tanks those moments can be few and far between.

So How Do We Get our Tanks Filled on a Regular Basis?

First thing is we need to know what our needs are. I strongly suggest taking the enneagram, love language, and the temperaments test. These test not only tell you a lot about yourself but they tell you what your innate needs are. They tell you how you give and receive love. With that information you can be more intentional when it comes to filling those needs. Also get your spouse to take these test as well that way you can know and love them better.

Through the tests I have been doing, I have found three ways that we can get out tanks feel every day.

  • God- God created us and is fully capable of filling our tank every day.
    • He is the only one that can completely fill us but we have to do our part and spend time with Him.
      • Having a daily quiet time is CRITICAL if we are going to be able to be our best selves.
      • If you are thinking you are too busy for a quiet time- then you are indeed TOO BUSY!
        • Set your alarm clock and get up earlier or stay up later
        • Take something out of your schedule or rearrange it

I can not stress enough how important this first one is to your life in general and also your marriage! If you do not have time to spend with God do whatever needs to be done to make the time!

  • Others- Other people including our spouse can “help” to fill our tank we just have to understand that they can not do it alone or completely.
    • This is one reason that taking a personality test is so beneficial. If you know what other people need then you can be very intentional about the words you speak to them so you can speak life-giving words that really fill their needs.
    • Share what you learn about yourself with others as well. That way they can better fill your needs. It’s a win-win.
  • Ourselves- we can encourage and build ourselves up
    • We can do this with positive self-talk. Let’s stop all the negativity. We are all God’s beloved children and it is time that we start acting and speaking as such! Build yourself up!
    • Quote the Word over ourselves and our situations like David did

Further, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all of them were embittered, each man for his sons and daughters. But David felt strengthened and encouraged in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Let’s take all three opportunities to fill our tanks every day! When our tanks are full we can be our best selves. Just like a car with a full tank of gas we can run better and go further. We can treat our spouses and others with the love and care they deserve and not make unrealistic demands on them. We can have our needs met and be happily married!

You can do this!

We are praying for you!



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