Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a way of understanding dysfunctional marriages

One interesting thing that came to me in the Why do most societies have 90-95% marriage rates (at some points) is another possible way of annotating why God’s made attractive traits to be the way they are in the context of marraige

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

  1. Physiological needs – food, water, warmth, rest
  2. Safety needs – security, safety
  3. Belongingness and love – intimate relationships, friends
  4. Esteem needs – Prestige, feeling of accomplishment
  5. Self-actualization – achieving one’s full potential including creative activities

In general, money correlates with the ability to fulfill physiological needs. Power, status, and athleticism tend to also correlate with fulfilling some physiological needs, but would generally fall under safety needs. For instance, those with high power or status in a tribe would usually secure food or athleticism as a hunter or warrior can procure food. However, those with higher power and status or athleticism also tend to be able to ensure the safety of those they are with.

This brings us to #3 which is belongingness and love. Sex and marriage and friends fall under this category. When you compare your average overweight and almost obese American man who is the butt of jokes of his wife and his wife wears the pants in the relationship, even if he makes a ton of money it probably won’t make up for the fact that he is not a man that inspires feelings of security and safety in her.

This is probably why wives tend to feel revulsion at having sex with men who are lower on the attractive traits, especially barring that money tends to become a non-factor to a certain extend in hypergamy if she has a job of her own. Her physiological and/or safety needs are not being met, especially by a man she is with, so intimacy will become a foreign concept.

The interesting thing is that this hierarchy extends beyond this. If a woman can’t find love (e.g. intimate relationships with a man), she defaults to find it with her friends who are doing the same thing as her which is to try to have it all.

The push of feminism has always been toward having it all, and that encompasses both esteem needs and self-actualization. The irony is that feminism pushes male esteem needs through career and women wonder why they don’t find that as satisfying as having a family in many cases, and likewise there is the push to “find yourself” through self actualization which has come to mean casual sex and traveling and doing whatever.

In any case, this is an interesting way of looking at it and may be helpful if regular conversation can’t get through to some men.

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6 Responses to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a way of understanding dysfunctional marriages

  1. cameron232 says:

    This is more or less the same thing that secular RP content creators argue – they just describe it in terms of evolution and evolutionary psychology.

  2. Anonymous Reader says:

    This brings us to #3 which is belongingness and love.

    Something that most men think they are going to get via marriage. But if they marry a carousel rider who has just stepped off to find her Beta security, they may get an unpleasant surprise. This is hindbrain issue within women, and can be addressed in a few ways. In the context of this blog, your book does fine dealing with this.

    Scott in one of his comments here or at Jack’s or on his own blog mentioned that men almost always list “touch” as one of their “love languages”, we all know that generally means sex in the context of marriage. But it really is touch, too. A man I know who got frivorced years ago mentioned that one of the things he found helpful in between trips to family court was getting a legitimate massage. Not one of those “asian massage specials”, but a real Swedish or deep tissue massage, from a licensed massage therapist. He didn’t fully know why, but this calmed him down.

    I speculate that the last year or two of his marriage not only was his wife playing hide-the-vagina, she would not even touch him, and that’s really basic human communication. It is interesting to watch married couples in public, especially those that I know are church going, and observe how often or how little they touch each other. I don’t mean big, high school style PDA, but just little gestures like hand holding or placing a hand in the small of her back as they cross a street.

    Small things eventually add up to a big thing. Small negations likewise.

  3. @ Cameron

    This is more or less the same thing that secular RP content creators argue – they just describe it in terms of evolution and evolutionary psychology.

    Yeah, I was wondering if someone would pick up on that.

    I think the Biblical analysis makes the most sense, but for those who deny headship then this option can make some sense to them at least.

  4. @ Anonymous Reader

    Scott in one of his comments here or at Jack’s or on his own blog mentioned that men almost always list “touch” as one of their “love languages”, we all know that generally means sex in the context of marriage. But it really is touch, too. A man I know who got frivorced years ago mentioned that one of the things he found helpful in between trips to family court was getting a legitimate massage. Not one of those “asian massage specials”, but a real Swedish or deep tissue massage, from a licensed massage therapist. He didn’t fully know why, but this calmed him down.

    I speculate that the last year or two of his marriage not only was his wife playing hide-the-vagina, she would not even touch him, and that’s really basic human communication. It is interesting to watch married couples in public, especially those that I know are church going, and observe how often or how little they touch each other. I don’t mean big, high school style PDA, but just little gestures like hand holding or placing a hand in the small of her back as they cross a street.

    Yeah, if men don’t get what the Bible prescribes it definitely makes for a very stressful marriage.

    1. Helper (Gen 1-3)
    2. Submission (Eph 5, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Pet 3)
    3. Respect (Eph 5, 1 Pet 3)
    4. Freely available sex (1 Cor 7)
    5. Affection (Tit 2)

    Sure, 4 and 5 can be partially replaced somewhat by massage but definitely not the same thing.

  5. Oscar says:

    @ DS & AR

    Sure, 4 and 5 can be partially replaced somewhat by massage but definitely not the same thing.

    Thus, the popularity of Sport Clips.

    https://sportclips.com/

    Wife won’t touch you? Maybe frivorced you? You can pay for an attractive young woman to touch you. Well… your head. No, not that head. The one above your shoulders. And, it’s totally legit!

  6. Anonymous Reader says:

    Yeah, if men don’t get what the Bible prescribes it definitely makes for a very stressful marriage.

    Yes. And?

    Sure, 4 and 5 can be partially replaced somewhat by massage but definitely not the same thing.

    Don’t confuse description with prescription.

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