Have you ever thought that love and hate are two sides of the same coin? I might have at one time, but marriage has taught me a lot about love. Hate is not the opposite of love, being selfish is the opposite of love. And selfishness is killing marriages. It is the root cause of many marriage problems–problems that are ending in divorce. A decade ago the number one cause for divorce was financial problems. Today it is irreconcilable differences. That sounds like people being selfish. Our human hearts are naturally bent towards getting what we want when we want it. Real love requires selflessness. It requires sacrificially putting someone else’s desires, needs, and comfort before what we want.
Successful couples choose to love each other first and themselves second. They choose to head off selfish marriage problems each and every day and choose to sacrificially and selflessly love one another. This is a super simple point, but it’s also really important. Some of us don’t even realize we are being selfish when we are. Mark and I have to work on this every day. Take this time to really consider, “am I being selfish?” so that you can get that root cause of your marriage problems resolved. Here are some questions to help you gauge yourself.
Answer the questions below to gauge your own desires.
- Do I want to win more than I want to understand? In an argument, are you more interested in winning or understanding your spouse’s emotions and feelings?
- Are you lecturing more or listening more? Are you thinking about your response more than pondering your spouse’s words?
- Do you maintain physical distance from your spouse except for when you want to be physically intimate?
- Do you spend most of your resources (time, talent, treasure) on your spouse or yourself?
- Would your spouse say you love things and use people, or love people and use things?
- Do you try to influence your spouse to solve problems, or manipulate your spouse to satisfy your own agenda? Are you influencing to your side or focusing on resolution?
- Does your checkbook and your calendar say that your spouse or yourself is most important to you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t beat yourself up. We are all human and all flawed. You’re off to a good start by recognizing that the root of your desires is selfish, and now you can do something about it!
Consider these truths about selfishness:
- When selfishness has a seat at the dinner table, it always demands to be fed first.
- The human heart is naturally bent towards selfishness…it wants what it wants, now.
- Selfishness is a root problem. Most major problems at the root of crumbling marriages, even extramarital affairs, are rooted in the rotten core of selfishness.
- Selfishness is all about getting, but real love is all about giving.
- Selfishness assigns value to a spouse for what they do, but real love grants honor for who a spouse is.
That’s why I believe selfishness is our greatest threat. And it’s living large right under our roof, every day and night.
If you want to hear more about this, listen to our podcast below.
Tell us! How have you played a part in your marriage selfishly?