Many of you may know this, but we strive to take great care of our physical bodies. We work out at least 4 times a week, try to make healthy food choices, and live pretty active lifestyles. Many of you also know that we are root people. What we mean by this is, we are going to always try to get to the root of a situation instead of focussing on the fruit that is easy to see. As we began thinking about this final week of our first "semester" of Keeping it Real, we thought about these two parts of our lives and decided to combine them into our topic for this week. Working on your root needs to strengthen your core strength as a couple. Bad roots can range from bad thought patterns, to family upbringing, to traumatic experiences, to anything in-between. In the same way, working out your core can look like many different exercises to strengthen that area of the body - the abs and lower back. Many trainers, or exercise leaders, spend a lot of time working on the core because they understand that the stronger you are in those areas, the better your overall body health will be. So how does all of this apply to our relationships? We believe that there are two root needs at the core of a person that can strengthen or weaken their relationships. Those two root needs are Security and Significance. - - - When these two core needs are strengthened through a relationship, that relationship is going to be healthy. *For many years we split these needs by gender - women having the core need of Security and men having the core need of Significance. We have come to believe that this is an incorrect path to take. These core needs are not gender-specific, men can hold a core need of security and women can hold a core need of significance. These root needs are placed in our personalities by God Himself and He does not limit His graces by only giving certain things to certain genders.* Now, a lot of us like to jump on the proverbial high-horse and say things like "I don't need [fill in the blank], I can take care of myself" but the reality is, no you can't. God created these root needs in us as a deep desire, and many times we begin to look anywhere we can to find fulfillment for them instead of going to The One who gave them to us in the first place. In marriage, if we are trying to get our spouse to fulfill this core need that I have and they're doing the same to me, we always say it's as if there were two ticks on a dog, but there isn't a dog - we are sucking the life out of our relationship. The reality is that God created these root needs to draw us to Himself through the person of Jesus Christ, Who meets all our needs and give us overflow to give away. When we look to our spouse to meet our core needs, we are looking to a person who has their own root needs that need to be met. In this process, of asking our spouse to meet our needs, we become selfish and focus on our own needs being met instead of being able to focus on giving to others. When we begin to allow God to meet the core needs of Security and Significance in our lives it becomes almost like "the cake" and our spouse's assistance becomes "the icing". That means if your spouse doesn't perfectly fulfill this need all the time it's ok. We can eat cake without icing, obviously the more icing the better (can I get a good amen from the end piece peoples!), but we still get to enjoy the cake because it is coming from a Perfect God, Who will always meet our needs. We should want Jesus to be our core and our spouse to be our extra Unknowingly we can find ourselves pulling out the "tiny swords" and attacking each other in their root need when our own need is not being fulfilled. This is why it is so important to find our core in Christ instead of our spouse. When we run to each other first, the relationship will always begin to suffer. What would marriage look like if both spouses were finding their Security and Significance in Christ? They would be so filled to overflow that they could begin to pour that overflow out onto their spouse! We want that for our own marriage, and we hope that you have the same desire for yours. Here are some thoughts on how we can find strength in our core through the person of Jesus Christ. 1 - There is No Formula All of this is relational, and there are not formulas for relationships 2- Walk with God It's why we were created. The closer we walk with Him, the more fulfilled we are 3 - Stand firm in Truth Know and Live in your identity as a Son or Daughter of The King 4 - His love is unconditional It will never leave or forsake us Core needs are a big deal. Fill yourself up with God. Allow the overflow to become the icing on the cake for your spouse. Enjoy life together. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - DATE NIGHT IDEA: Go get a piece of, or a whole, cake and enjoy it together as you discuss how God is strengthening your core as He meets your root need. Make sure to share your date on social media with the hashtag #WeAreKeepingItReal and post a picture of it in the comments on this blog!