I struggle with selfishness.
Construction is underway near our house. We don’t yet know what is going to be built, but as my husband and I were trying to guess I said (without hesitation), “I don’t care what goes in there as long as it is something I will benefit from.” As soon as the words were spoken, I had to apologize. They had been so selfish, but they (sadly) shed light on my self-centered heart.
As much as I hate to admit it, I have that same attitude in marriage. I don’t care what is on my husband’s agenda as long as it is something I can benefit from. I very naturally focus on my needs, my feelings, my desires, my time table, my agenda, my to-do list, my… everything. Yet, that very attitude prevents me from seeing my husband’s point of view, his to-do list, his wants, and his needs.
How can I be his helpmate if my attitude is so self-focused?
My attitude isn’t the only manifestation of selfishness. My time is also something I can be selfish with. This has been a huge struggle for me since we have had children.
- He will come home from work and I will tell him he needs to watch the children so I can get the house clean, run to the store, cook dinner, or take a shower.
- When he is watching all four children, I have been known to casually take my time while running an errand or not rush home after a ministry event. “This is my time… I deserve a break… I’m already out,” serves as my justification.
- When the children go to bed, I will plan out our down time. It might be living room date or working out together, etc. I craft our evenings around my desires rather than asking my husband how he would like to spend his time.
How come I protect and plan “my time” but am not considerate of his time?!
Attitude and Time are two significant ways that I allow selfishness to creep into our marriage. Digging deeper, one would find my thought life, prayer life, and sex life also reveal that I often put myself first.
Selfishness is cancer within marriage.
At the root of almost all divorces you will find selfishness. Selfishness from the partner who walks away simply because they are not happy or fulfilled. Selfishness from the spouse who struggles with an addiction. Selfishness from the mate who had an affair. Every day, marriages end because of selfishness. It is toxic!
I must own up to my own selfish tendencies in marriage for they require repentance.
The small, seemingly insignificant, ways that I put myself first must be put to death in order for my marriage to thrive. If I am oblivious to how I am selfish in daily choices; I won’t be able to recognize my own self-centered choices that could destroy my marriage or damage my husband’s trust.
Dying to myself is not simply a one-time choice, but rather a moment-by-moment decision. As difficult as it might be, the rewards surpass all the struggle. The Lord will bless my obedience, grant me peace, and use the most difficult of moments to refine me into a more mature follower of Christ.