Would You Want To Marry You?
Have you witnessed a selfish child?
That’s a crazy question. We all have. We probably were one at one time!
It’s not too pleasant is it? In fact, I get uncomfortable around children who don’t play well together. I find myself trying to fix the situation. The children who aren’t selfish start to distance themselves. They get uncomfortable too! It’s just not much fun for a playmate to want his or her way all the time.
You know where I am going with this.
How fun is it to be married to a selfish person? Not very. Jeff and I have both floundered in seasons of narrow-mindedness. We still have moments of self-centered thinking, but we fight hard against it. The surfacing of discord and harsh words wear us out. We always manage better in a calm environment with supportive words.
It should seem crazy to need discussion concerning selfishness within the marriage. We are joined together as one in covenant with God. Our number one focus, as a Christian, is our individual spiritual walk (which should eliminate most of the problem). Focus number two is our spouse - their needs and goals, and the plan God has for each of us individually, and together in marriage. That being the case, where does selfishness fit in?
We have an enemy. It is not our spouse. Satan would love nothing better than to destroy our marriages one selfish attitude at a time. He’ll keep us in the fight until our spouse waves the white flag of surrender. Unfortunately, he fails to share with us the damage triggered and compounded with each battle.
Let me ask. What happens when you don’t get your way? Were you the child that made everyone uncomfortable, demanding what you preferred? Do you back away, relinquishing your desires in order to keep peace? Or have you learned to work together, knowing God protects the marriage that runs from the enemy? Do you know God can give you a spirit of peace if you ask Him? Jeff and I still stumble, but thankfully, each year we recognize our adversary quicker, resulting in supplication - not aggravation!
Just in case selfishness still doesn't seem like a big deal, let’s take a look at the meaning behind the word.
Selfishness: concerned chiefly for oneself; having little regard for others; lack of concern for others; egotistical; greedy; narrow minded
Sounds ugly doesn’t it? I know, I’ve been ugly. But we can do better. Here’s a few helpful tips.
- Pay attention. What brings your selfish attitudes out into the open? What sets the fire ablaze? Get ahead of the sparks and plan your words carefully. Just last week I was upset about something requiring my attention. It didn’t have anything to do with Jeff, but I was ready to unload on him. (Bless his heart!) Then I remembered, shortly before hearing his truck pull in, he wasn’t a fan of my harsh tone. Who would be? I deliberately changed my approach of the subject. Total success! I corrected the problem, Jeff assisted me - no harsh words. It works!
-Why did you get married? We’ve asked the question numerous times, most always to find kind, but selfish answers. Companionship, financial security, intimacy, a home for the children, to have children...the list goes on. We never hear, “To sacrificially love my spouse.” Jeff and I included, wanted marriage for how it would benefit us. No one told us of the required sacrifice. I wish we had known 37 years ago the joy we now experience when we choose to consider the needs of one another. I challenge you to give it a try. For the next week, bless your spouse, putting his or her needs and desires first. Develop a servant heart. You might be surprised to find blessings come back to you!
Back to the question at the beginning of the post. Would you want to marry you? If not, change is just around the corner. Jeff and I hunger for a selfless spirit. We know it's a struggle, but we know it’s attainable. We’re not there yet, but we’re closer than we were. Don’t give up! Become the person you would want to marry!
Seeking the Word,