It is so very evident that the core to most, if not all, sin is selfishness. And then we quickly discover that the greatest threat to our marriages is selfishness. Wow, and it took me repeating it twice to fully own that simple fact. Yup, it sure does. Why, because we don’t own the selfishness, it’s our spouse who is selfish, not me. Hmm, wonder when this crazy train will stop?
You see, we go into marriage expecting everything to be perfect. We are taught that after we say “I Do” we will ride off into the sunset with the writing in the sky, “Happily Ever After.” My question for those in their first year of marriage, “How’s that working for you?” You see, if it’s one year or 20+ years, you must daily realize that a truly successful marriage is the union of an imperfect husband and an imperfect wife. Anyone who enters marriage must do so with the clear and sober understanding of that fact.
Let me put it this way: A mother was trying to explain to her little son the benefits of unselfishness. She concluded her talk by saying, “We’re in this world to help others.” After due consideration the boy asked, “Well then, what are the others here for?” See, in marriage, too many times we consider ourselves the ones who are doing all the helping and we get angry and bitter to the “others.” When two individuals, married to each other, put their own individual needs and wants first, they’re on a collision course.
Let me share four examples of selfishness in marriage.
- In-Laws: It’s a sign of selfishness and immaturity when you constantly remind your spouse about what your parents said, and how they did things. This is unfair and to your spouse and hurtful to your marriage.
- Pornography: The Psalmist wrote, “I refuse…to look at corrupting people and degrading things” Psalm 101:3 Pornography is as addictive as heroin and there have been countless marriages destroyed by its corruption and exploitation of women. Not only does it leave you feeling ashamed, realize that it will devastate your spouse’s self-worth.
- Disagreements: Remember this, you are both going to stumble in many ways. James informs us of this fact in his book in chapter 3. We are going to have disagreements; however, it is how you will resolve them. When you are wrong admit it without giving excuses. When you are right, shut your mouth without bragging. It is that simple.
- Prayerlessness: A recent study showed that 90% of Christian couples don’t read the Bible or pray together. Are you in that 90%? Kerry and I make it an effort to come together in prayer by holding hands and praying together. We spend time sharing with each other what God has taught us and how He is working in our day. Begin by praying with each other as husband and wife. Then begin to share what God is teaching you today.
In closing, if Christ is the most important part of your life, then He should be the part you both enjoy sharing the most. When passion and physical beauty fade, your shared love for Christ will sustain you through the storms of life. So begin today to fight for your marriage!