If you have ever been in any kind of relationship with someone who is needy and clingy all the time – you know that it can feel like imprisonment. Even if it is just a coworker or a classmate at school. There is something about neediness/clinginess that just sucks all of the emotional life out of other people.
- There is a book , “Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren” that my daughter and I read earlier this fall. This little 5 year old, Junie B., decides she is “in love” with Warren in her class. One chapter is SO PERFECT at illustrating the concept of a woman being super needy, clingy, dictatorial and smothering to a man and just how repulsive it can be. I really wish I could quote the entire chapter but, I will just summarize. Junie B. would not leave Warren alone. He told her to go away and not talk to him anymore. She stayed right beside him. She was quiet for 30 seconds or so, but then she constantly said something or other to try to get his attention and to try to make her love him. Quoting from memory here, “I’m being quiet Warren. I can be REAL quiet. I won’t talk at all. I’m just going to sit right here and not talk. Not one word. You won’t even know I’m here. I’m just quiet as can be. That’s me. Being quiet… Hey, Warren! There’s a piece of fuzz on your hair. Want me to get it for you, Warren? It wouldn’t be any problem for me to get that piece of fuzz out of your hair for you, Warren. Cause I’m your friend. You and I are friends. It’s white. I think it came off of a plant or something. Want me to get it for you? Huh? Do ya? I can do it really quick…” And she continued ON and ON as Warren faced away from her with the biggest scowl on his face and eventually he exploded in frustration and anger. This is NOT how to attract a guy, ladies!
- In marriage… what does it look like when a wife is clingy, needy or smothering? If you have a controlling mother, mother-in-law or sister, you know how painful it is to be on the receiving end of this kind of behavior. If not, try to put yourself in a husband’s shoes in these scenarios. (be sure to picture the angry face and angry tone of voice):
- How COULD you go do something with your friends? You are supposed to spend EVERY SINGLE MINUTE that you are not working with ME! You obviously don’t love me as much as I love you because I would never go off and leave you and do something with my friends. If you walk out that door, you’re really going to pay for this once you get home!
- We need to talk. RIGHT NOW. I don’t feel loved. You aren’t spending enough time with me. You don’t even look very happy to talk with me right now. Why do you have that expression on your face? Why are you watching the TV!?! You’re not even paying attention to me! You are totally ignoring me! I don’t matter at all to you, do I? See, you are the most unloving husband on the face of this planet. I knew you’d just come home and ignore me. All I ask is to have some time to share my heart with you and you can’t even do something that simple. Where are you going!?!?!!?!
- I would be happy if only you would love me in the way I want you to love me. You won’t send me romantic emails like I have asked you to do 125 times. What is wrong with you? All I want is a little email? Is it SO HARD to just send a little email to your wife to tell her you love her? Would it KILL you to spend 2 minutes sending me a text or an email? I mean, I send you loving emails/texts all the time. You don’t even appreciate all that I do for you. And you can’t send me one little note because you love me? If you really loved me, you would WANT to send me romantic notes and you would WANT to tell me how much you love me and how special I am to you. But NOOOOO! You can’t be bothered with little details like that.
- It has been 4 weeks and 2 days since you gave me a compliment. So, I suppose you don’t think I’m pretty anymore, right? Yep. I’m sure that is what you are thinking. What kind of husband doesn’t compliment his own wife? You must not even notice me at all. I might as well not even be here. You’d be happier without me, wouldn’t you? You need to tell me a compliment RIGHT NOW! Wait a minute, where do you think you’re going?? Don’t you walk out that door! I am talking to you! You better give me a compliment.
- Why won’t you have sex with me? Every other red blooded man on the planet WANTS to have sex with his wife – but not you! What am I not sexy enough for you now? You need to have sex with me. The Bible says you have to. You’re sinning if you withhold yourself from me. Turn off the stupid TV. We’re going to have sex! I cannot just wait around for you like this all the time. You need to be sensitive to my needs.
Hopefully, you get the idea, right?
I’d like you to notice something about the wife examples… These wives weren’t just being needy, clingy and smothering, they were also being:
- oblivious to how they were coming across
- assuming the worst
- not giving the husband a chance to be a hero
All of that tends to go together.
I have done stuff like this to my husband before. Let me just share a little secret with you – these approaches DO NOT WORK! They make our men (and anyone, really) want to run far, far away.
This puts a man in a lose/lose situation.
1. He can bow to you and try to accommodate your demands, knowing that anything he does after you demanded it will be totally meaningless to him and to you and that you will lose all respect for him if he does what you want when you approach him in such a disrespectful way.
2. He can stay true to his convictions to not say yes to you because of your disrespectful approach and look like a “jerk.”
Let’s try to not put our men in a situation where both of us will lose no matter what they do! Let’s learn to approach our men in effective ways that bless them and ourselves. Let’s check our motives when we are feeling disappointed, forgotten and unloved.
- Let’s focus on loving and obeying Christ above everything else, finding all of our contentment in Him alone and blessing our husbands.
- It’s not that the things we want are necessarily wrong – it is our approach and the level of priority we are giving to our desires. If we are approaching our men the way I was talking about in the above examples, our own motives are not right. There is sin in our hearts we need to deal with before we can take another step.
What draws our husbands to us – times when we :
- have humility
- make respectful requests (usually just once) not demands
- graciously accept “no” from others and allow them the freedom to make their own decisions and don’t try to force our way on them
- are concerned and compassionate towards them
- don’t pressure them
- are responsible for our own emotions, happiness and contentment in Christ
- enjoy them
- assume the best not immediately accuse them of the worst
- respect them genuinely
- use good manners – yes, even with our husbands!
- appreciate the things they do for us
- have a friendly tone of voice and a pleasant facial expression
RESPECTFUL SUGGESTIONS THAT MAY BE A BETTER APPROACH WITH THESE ISSUES (but you must be SINCERE or do not say these things. And say them with a smile, a pleasant tone of voice and facial expression.) –
- I am really glad you have a chance to see your friends. Being with them is important! Have fun! I think I might go get together with my friend tonight for dessert, too. I’m so excited! (Then later, maybe the next day or sometime, say, “I’d love for us to have a night out this week if we could. That would be so much fun!”)
- I’m feeling lonely today. (silly sad face) Would you please cuddle with me for a few minutes? (with a friendly voice and a smile. And be gracious even if he says, “no”)
- When you sent me that sweet email a few months ago – I loved it! I read it often. I really feel loved when you send me a note like that. (pleasant tone of voice and a smile. No pressure!)
- I like it when you compliment me. It makes me smile. ;). I keep thinking about how sweet is was when you said X last month. You are such a thoughtful husband.
- I can’t wait to be in your arms tonight. I just want to touch you and kiss you all over… 😉 (but, if he is tired or turns you down, please be gracious!)
AND THEN –
Possibly focus on your man and ask him how he is doing and what you can do for him and LISTEN carefully to anything he shares and make HIM a huge priority. 🙂