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Never Enough

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In what ways can you openly communicate to your spouse your need for approval?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Matthew 5:4, NASB

Dad was a Marine drill instructor, and approval was scarce when I (David) was growing up. There were things such as bed inspections to confirm the tightness of the sheets, and the words, "I'm proud of you," were hard to come by.

I know now that I married Teresa hoping—even expecting—to receive from her the approval I had missed out on as a child. At first, when Teresa didn't automatically meet my need for approval, I just tried harder to get it. I would work longer and longer hours, hoping to hear her say, "Honey, you're a terrific provider." I would buy my wife the most expensive gifts I could afford. While all along, I wanted to hear the words, "David, I'm so proud that you're my husband."

When Teresa didn't get the hint and meet my need for approval, I would become angry and withdrawn. Rather than becoming vulnerable and telling her what I needed, I tried to earn her approval. It was the only way I knew to express my needs, but I was on a vicious treadmill of "never enough." The more I tried, performed, or bought, the worse things got.

Finally, after fifteen years of marriage, I put my finger on what was missing. I talked openly with Teresa about how I longed, especially as a child, to hear words of praise and approval. I talked about the pressure I felt to earn my father's approval and how no amount of effort seemed good enough. Teresa comforted me, and a wonderful healing began as I sensed her understanding.

Through many more times of comfort, those wounds have been healed, but approval is still very important for me. I'm happy to report that God continues to involve Teresa in further restoration.

In what ways can you openly communicate your need for approval to your spouse today?

Father, show me ways that I might help restore my spouse’s heart.

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