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"Smothering" is a selfish reaction to your own internal struggles.

If you demand a lot of time and attention from your spouse, you may need to evaluate why. Your spouse can give you love but they can’t give you self-confidence.

To “Smother” Means You Overwhelm Your Spouse with Your Emotional Needs

The desire to smother comes from insecurity and a need for control, neither of which are ingredients for a healthy marriage. When you feel insecure, you might try to fix it by requiring your spouse to make you feel the way you want to feel. But that’s just not how it works.

[Related: Your Identity in Christ]

Your Spouse Can’t Meet Your Every Need

Your spouse can’t give you self-esteem or self-confidence. You have to be confident in who you are separate from your spouse. Usually, insecurity comes from your own internal stuff – a past that taught you that you weren’t lovable or that people could abandon you at any time. You need to deal with those issues on your own. And you need to remember that your ultimate worth comes from God.

Ephesians 1:4-8 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Even though your spouse can do their part to show love and commitment, no amount of effort on their part can heal those old wounds you have.

[Related: Marital Conflict Comes from a Sinful Heart]

Smothering Your Spouse Will Push Them Away

Trying to force connection, or making your spouse meet your every need, only pushes them further away. Pushing them away will only make you feel less connected. It becomes a vicious cycle. The more you smother to force connection, the more your spouse moves further away because they get overwhelmed.

[Related: Learning the 5 Love Languages]

Spouses Should Be Givers

Smothering is selfish. It’s all about you getting your needs met at the expense of your spouse. Marriage is about give-and-take. If you’re always looking to take from your spouse – more attention, more affection, more affirmation, then you’ll never realize what your spouse needs from you.

John 13:34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

A healthy marriage is based on selfless, sacrificial love, the way Jesus has loved us. Instead of focusing only on your needs, look for ways to meet your spouse’s needs. This change in thinking will help create healthier connection with your spouse.

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. On a scale from 1-10, how much do you smother your spouse? Now rate your spouse.
  3. If you are going through this topic with your spouse, are you surprised by the number your spouse gave you? Explain.
  4. Do you agree that your spouse can’t meet your every need? Explain.
  5. Read Ephesians 1:4-8. Where should you find your ultimate value? How should understanding your value in God change the way you relate to your spouse?
  6. Have you seen how some of your actions have pushed your spouse away? What might be a better way to approach those situations?
  7. Read John 13:34. How has God loved us? How can you give more in your marriage?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.