What if I told you there was something that could completely ruin your marriage? Something that has caused several marriages to fail already. You would want to know what it is, right? You would want to make sure that you never did it. Well, what if I told you that you are probably already doing it? In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that at some point in your marriage either you or your spouse has done this. Yes, something that has the potential to completely destroy your marriage may be happening right under your nose. That thought is a little unnerving, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it is true and it is happening.
So what is this thing that is so dangerous to marriages?
One word- SELFISHNESS
Now you may have just breathed a huge sigh of relief. You may be thinking that you are off the hook. You thought I was talking about something super serious like adultery or lying to your spouse. I bet you are thinking you have just dodged a bullet. Well, I am about to hit you with some hard truth. I am totally talking to you because… Yes, my friend, you are selfish. Now don’t stop reading on me just yet. So am I, so is my spouse, so is your spouse, so is everyone. We all have a sin nature that if left unattended will try and keep us self centered. I have recently been doing a lot of studying on personality types and temperaments and the one weakness that we all share is selfishness. Across the board, we all have that weakness.
We are all selfish from time to time, but let’s take a moment to gauge how selfish we are right now. Let’s do a quick little self-assessment.
- When your spouse gets home from work how are they greeted?
- Do you stop what you are doing to acknowledge their presences or do you not acknowledge them at all?
- Do you ask them about their day (and listen) or do you just start talking about everything that happened during your day?
- Do you do things for them just because you know they will like it or do you only do things you like?
- This could be as simple as cooking their favorite meal or helping out with something.
- Do you put other things ahead of your spouse on a regular basis?
- Ex. Job, kids, friends, hobbies, etc.
- Do you insist that things are always done your way?
- How do you respond when you don’t get your way?
- Do you get upset when they will not drop everything to do what you want to do?
- Do you fuss at them when they do help because it was not done the way you wanted it done?
- Do you give them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment on a regular basis?
- Do you complain about the things that you do for them and hold that over their heads?
- Do you try and control every aspect of your spouse’s life?
- Do you do things to take care of your spouse or do they basically have to fend for themselves?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then there is selfishness in your relationship. The degree of selfishness can vary from season to season. There have been times that I have been severely selfish and other times that I am intentional thoughtful.
We are all human and we fall short from time to time. I get that however, selfishness is becoming more and more rampant.
We are taught from an early age by messages spoken and unspoken that we better take care of ourselves and look out for #1 because if we don’t no one else will. This message has spilled over into marriages and the results of it are becoming more and more noticeable. Husbands and wives do not take care of each other anymore. They leave each other to fend for themselves. We go with the excuse of “they are a grown man” or “she is a grown woman” but really the root of it is selfishness. We want to be the one that is waited on hand and foot. We are afraid that we might get taken advantage of if we show the smallest amount of selflessness.
What is crazy sad is that the opposite is true. If we will turn our focus on our spouses and genuinely treat them with love and kindness that will be poured back onto us. Once you started being selfless with your spouse they will, in turn, be more selfless with you. It is truly a win-win but no one takes the time to realize that.
There is Hope
The good news is we do not have to remain selfish. We do not have to continue on the same path and risk hurting one of our most valuable relationships. It will take consistent daily decisions on our part and a whole lot of Jesus but we can become more selfless. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and can help us overcome selfishness but we have to be proactive about it. So there is hope (which is great) but it will take work and intentionality.
How to Walk This Out Daily
So below you will find a few simple changes that you can make daily to become less selfish and more selfless. None of these are hard, expensive, or even time-consuming. They only take consistent effort for a change to take place in your marriage.
Ways to turn “selfishness” into “selflessness”
- Thank God daily for your spouse
- Be very specific about the qualities you love and appreciate about them
- Look for daily ways to blessing your spouse
- What would make them happy?
- What would help them out?
- Take responsibility for your own well being
- It is not your spouse’s job to make you happy all the time
- Your emotional and physical well being should be your focus, not theirs
- Rest, eat well, focus on positive influences (these are all things that can be done by you to make your life better)
- Avoid any influence (television shows, magazines, books, and social media) that describes marriage as negative or that tells you what marriage or your spouse “ought to be”. This will only leave us discontented and you will try and “change” your spouse instead of appreciating them for who they are.
Being selfish is one of the easiest things in the world. Since it is a part of our fallen nature it comes naturally for every one of us. However, with just a few changes, major changes can happen in your life and in your marriage. Let’s be different. In Romans 12:1-2 we find that God has actually called us to be different.
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]
There is way too much selfishness in this world. Let’s not be conformed to that. Let’s not accept that standard of living. Let’s rise above the status quo with Jesus’s help. Let’s be selfless, and content, and happy in our marriages.
When it comes to your marriage remember…
YOU chose them!
Chances are, YOU prayed for them!
THEY deserve kindness and thoughtfulness from YOU!
YOU can do this!
YOU can be selfless.
The “relationship killer” can take you and your spouse out if you let it! Don’t let it!
WE are praying for YOU!