Last week I wrote about my selfish tendencies here. I hate that I have them, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not alone in feeling that way. In the 10 years that I’ve been married, something I’ve come to believe very strongly is that the majority of issues that come up between us (or any couple) have selfishness as a major contributor to them.
- The man who hurts his marriage by drinking too much
- The man who gets upset at his wife over her spending habits
- The man who cheats on his wife
- The man who has trouble listening to his wife when he is doing other things.
- The man who doesn’t see his family much because he’s too involved in other activities
At the root of all these issues is a desire for a man to do what he wants, not considering the feelings of or impact it will have on his wife.
So, why is this behavior a big deal? Let’s see what the Bible says about it. Here are just a few of the MANY references calling us to live selfless lives…
Philippians 2:4 – “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
1 Corinthians 10:24 – “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
James 3:16 – “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
Romans 2:8 – “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
Picture for a moment what the reverse of this looks like. Your wife enjoys the last piece of cake that you left for her. She is able to relax instead of doing the dishes because you decided you would. She is able to go shopping with extra money you wanted her to have. She goes to fold the laundry and is surprised to find it’s already done. She gets to watch a movie with you that she wanted to see. She enjoys listening to her favorite music when you’re in the car. Date night is at her favorite restaurant. These are all small things that only take a small amount of effort and sacrifice. If you can get in the habit of giving up your desires, it will go a long way towards making your wife feel loved.
So here’s my challenge to you. Realizing that selfishness is something we ALL have issues with, try to attack it two ways.
- Identify opportunities to be selfless and take them. When neither you nor your wife is feeling up to it, and it is HER turn to … (pick your favorite chore) … put the kids to bed / make dinner / take the kids to activities / whatever … don’t relax and take it easy. Identify it as an opportunity to put your wife’s needs before yours. Man up and tell her to lie down and rest while you take care of it. Try to identify the feeling … “man, I want to do this so much”, and when you realize that you’re feeling it, act on it FOR HER. Give up YOUR desire and put your wife first letting HER experience whatever it is that YOU wanted to do so much.
- Pray about it. Like Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Jesus modeled this behavior in how he GAVE HIMSELF UP for us. Not much selfishness going on there. Now it’s true that we can’t be perfect like Jesus, but there lies our calling as husbands. The goal is to work towards it. Don’t try to do it on your own though. Ask God to reveal to you where you are selfish and to help you make changes that will put your wife’s needs above yours.