Chapter 9: Be Free from Marital Games

Chapter Summary

When healthy disciplines and loving ways are practiced consistently, intimacy needs are consistently, not perfectly, met.

  • However, as the needs are unmet over extended periods of time, the hurt we feel may become justification for wrong responses that in turn hurt our spouse.
  • These patterns usually result from and deepen the tendency to poorly communicate needs.  Our cup / emotional capacity then fills with more negative emotions.
  • Each of us may attempt to manipulate our spouse to get our needs met, but these “marital games we play may get the desired activity we want from our spouse, but many times the motive will not be from love but from frustration.
  • Thus, we are not really satisfied because the action we “forced was not done from loving motives.
  • Some of the games we play include but are not limited to the following:
    Complainer vs. Procrastinator Nothing’s Wrong Game
    The Blame Game Performer vs. “Yes, but”
    Outdone vs. Sweet Martyr Frustrated vs. Never Enough
  • In Chapter 9 “Be Free from Marital Games you will review the games, the needs addressed, and how to stop the game with a healthy practice of sharing needs vulnerably.
  • Extra homework, if time allows, on Intimacy is located at the end of the chapter.
  • Memory Work is from Psalm 34:8-10 helping us know God supplies our needs.
  • Remember that long-term games are usually not ended over night.  Trust God for His provision and His love even as each spouse learns to speak the truth in love, reveal needs vulnerably, and patiently wait for the spouse (you, too) to grow in a new habit of communicating love versus playing marital games.


Small Group Questions

  • Let us know about progress you are making in your marriage.
  • What “marital games did you see your parents play?
  • What games do you play in your marriage?
  • What does it take for you to stop playing games?
  • How can learning to “speak the truth in love help stop marital games?
  • Why do we feel more pain from unmet needs in marriage than in any other relationship?
  • What is one of your spouse’s intimacy needs and give an example of how you could meet it?
  • How does your husband or wife feel or act when that intimacy need is met?
  • What are some practical ways you can meet your partner’s intimacy needs more effectively in the future?
  • (Optional – Use only if group is close enough to handle hearing suggestions from one another.)  Describe a situation (not too personal) where you play one of the marital games.  Can you as a group help this couple discover a way to stop the game, meet some emotional needs more appropriately, and build intimacy?