God made marriage so that a husband and wife would cling to one another emotionally, spiritually, and physically (Gen 2:24). Both in life and in Scripture, clinging is a very positive and vivid metaphor—I call it a healthy and “constructive dependency” between husband and wife.

But in the church and broader culture, “dependency” has lost its savor. Characterizing a couple as “dependent” is not good—it’s considered a deficit and almost always carries a pejorative connotation. What a shame! This is how Scripture captures marriage, and it’s something that we must develop, not something to avoid or mature out of. Turning to one another in frailty and responding with encouragement, support, comfort, and help reflects Christ and is a fruit of humility and love (Mat 26:38).

Here are some questions to help you think about your own marriage and how it expresses constructive dependency:

  • Are you actively clinging to your spouse—emotionally, spiritually, and physically?
  • Do you know and accept your spouse’s vulnerabilities, fears, and deep desires?
  • Wives, would your husband say that you need him—not just for everyday needs, but for his care, his compassion, and his wisdom?
  • Husbands, would your wife say that you need her—do you know in the core of your soul that you depend on, deeply appreciate, and delight in her?

God designed and created marriage with a “powerful glue” in order for couples to be both needy and needed. This Valentine’s Day, we pray that your marriage would express more and more the healthy dependency and compassion that fosters intimacy and connection. This is the clinging God desires and delights in.

This video is an excerpt from Aaron Sironi’s 2016 national conference talk. Full audio recording: For Better or Worse: Emotion in Marriage