I Want it NOW!

It’s a tough job to sort out the difference between a personal want and a real need. The marketing media says you “need” to have everything they advertise, and you “need” it now.

From makeup to perfume to new gadgets or a new car, commercials, billboards, and advertisements of all kinds shout to us that unless we have what they offer us, our “needs” won’t be met, and we won’t be successful. Yet although these are just marketing ploys to prompt us to buy things, we often get confused and think that what we want or desire is really what we need.

James and Laura looked like the perfect urban-chic couple. But behind closed doors, Laura’s out-of-control spending was becoming an increasing frustration for James. Laura’s closet contained thousands of dollars worth of name-brand shoes, the latest trendy fashions, and a vast array of glamour accessories.

But James’s home office was no better. All the latest high-tech toys cluttered his desk. He’d lined the walls with expensive artwork and bought high-priced furnishings to fill the room. James’s tendency to splurge on things he wanted soon became a source of tension between him and Laura.

To others, James and Laura appeared to be the epitome of success, but beneath the facade, a storm was brewing, a storm of financial ruin from their gotta-have-it-all-now mentality. It wasn’t until they nearly divorced because of the stress their deep debt had caused in their relationship that they finally figured out how to learn to meet real needs and let go of their many wants.

You might read this story and think, “Well, they were spending all of their money on wants, not needs!” And you’d be right. But it’s easy to get caught up in wanting instant gratification. In fact, many couples are just like James and Laura.

Understand that I’m not saying all wants are bad. But making healthy decisions for your marriage will often require setting aside wants in order to meet legitimate needs.

That’s why it’s important to identify what your needs are now. But that’s only half the job. Choosing daily to learn how to unselfishly meet each other’s needs and giving grace when one of you falls short is the other critical component. It may be complicated, but it’s worth the time and effort to discern wisely.

How do you discern between a want and a need?

*Adapted from Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2014, all rights reserved. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

*photo credit: Gnilenkov Aleksey via photopin cc

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Susan and Dale Mathis are passionate about helping couples prepare for marriage and for remarriage, since they are a remarried couple themselves. Dale has two master's degrees in counseling and has worked in counseling and human resources for over 30 years. Susan, the founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, has written prolifically for magazines and newspapers and continues to serve as a consultant, freelance editor and writer, and speaker. As a couple they enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and visiting family and friends around the world. Their blended family includes five adult children and three granddaughters. For more information about Susan or Dale, visit their website.

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