When Being Selfish In Marriage Is a Good Thing
As I’m writing this article, sitting in Starbucks, drinking my Venti Americano and listening to awful jazz music playing overhead, I have officially been married 14 years, 2 months, 3 days, 2 hours and 42 minutes. I’m just a couple years away from having been married almost half my life. I certainly have loved my husband for more years than I haven’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that makes me an expert on marriage, but I sure do think it is a wonderful testimony to God’s great grace and love. I’m committed, probably obsessed, with making my marriage succeed. Not a day goes by that I don’t truly feel thankful for that man who stole my heart all those 14 years ago.
Very early on we learned the most important thing when it comes to keeping a marriage successful. We learned the one word that we must keep close to our hearts. If we abide by this rule, we will see love abound in spades for our whole lives. It didn’t take long to learn, and I am so thankful we learned it early. I’m here to challenge you and your marriage with this one amazing concept. Are you ready for it? It truly is mind blowing…brace yourself…
I want you to read that word, say it aloud, and think on it. Unselfishness.
The definition of being selfish is: Lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
If that is selfishness…then unselfishness is this: Consumed with consideration for others, concerned chiefly with the personal profit or pleasure of others.
So in the context of marriage, an unselfish spouse is one that is consumed with consideration for her husband; she is concerned chiefly with his personal profit or pleasure.
Wow…say what?? Concerned with his personal profit and pleasure? What decade do we live in??
We live in the here and now, the decades where husbands and wives don’t even look at each other, let alone concern themselves with the needs and wants of the other person.
A marriage thrives when both partners are moving in unselfishness, and when the balance is off, that is when dissension comes. But if we have two people, committed to Jesus Christ and each other, that is when compromise abounds and offenses don’t become grudges.
Instead of being selfish toward our spouse, let’s be selfish FOR our spouse.
1. Esteem your marriage above your parenthood. This means put the kids to bed early and connect with each other while there are no distractions. Teach your children that while Mom and Dad are talking they must wait (even a 2 year old can learn this!). Shut the door to your room and make your bedroom a sanctuary. Remember, these children will move away and make their own families. So guard your time together to avoid having to “re-learn” each other when the children move out.
2. Allow your spouse to have regular times away for refreshing. This doesn’t mean you both have permission to skip out on your family, necessary chores, or doing life with each other. But instead, listen to the heart of your spouse and sense when they may need a quick time away. In an unselfish marriage this works both ways.
3. Get away with your spouse. I promise you, there is someone close by who would love to take care of your children for a few days, overnight, or just a couple hours. Ask.
4. Rejoice in each other’s accomplishments! When one spouse succeeds, the other one does. Find reasons to “celebrate” any and all happy occasions. Spouses who celebrate together, thrive together.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says (Message version):
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
God knew we would have rocky times, so He gave us those words of encouragement. Jesus is your #1 fan! He is cheering you on in your marriage and has sent the Holy Spirit to be your comforter. We can take notes from the most amazing act of unselfishness ever lived out…when God sent His only Son to die on the cross for our selfish selves.