Being married has taught me many wonderful things about life, God, myself, people, and what is important. One thing I wasn’t prepared to learn when I got married was how selfish I am. Serving self is so insidious; you barely know it is there until you have another person daily looking into your life. When Devon and I were first married, I was simply not prepared to have all my selfish thoughts and actions brought into crystal clear focus. Marriage was a tool that God used, and continues to use, to refine my character.
There is no room for self indulgence within relationships, especially marriage. If you want a fast track to poisoning your marriage, then focus on yourself, your wants, and what makes you happy. Our normal is to focus on ourselves; to do what makes us feel good. It comes natural to get our needs met before we worry about anyone else’s.
What are the results of two people serving themselves within a marriage? Unhappiness. This is not intuitive. It would seem that if we are seeking to make sure we get our needs met then we would be happy. Logic would drive us to think that when we are the king of our castle, life has to be good. Selfishness may bring us temporary happiness, but it is always fleeting.
So how do we extract the poison of being self serving from our marriages? Jesus lets us know in John 13:34. He tells us to “Love one another.” I know you are thinking, “Well thanks captain obvious. That is why we got married in the first place, because we loved one another.” I didn’t say it, Jesus did. But see the problem is, we are noun loving. We are making love a thing, a feeling, something sentimental and valentiney. We need to make love a verb, an action, a service. To love correctly involves doing something for the other person, and if we are doing something for the other person we are not serving ourselves.
The Apostle Paul builds on this idea. In Ephesians 5, he offers some heavy hitting advice on how to have a healthy marriage. If you haven’t read it, it would behoove (love that word) you to do so. Paul admonishes us to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” How do we submit to one another in marriage? We put the other person’s needs first. It is where I say “Devon, you come first.” Devon replies, “I don’t think so, you are the priority here.” “No mam, I am here to see that your needs are met pronto.” Submitting to one another means we make the other person the priority. How often do we really see that? So often, it seems like marriages are every man for himself. Me, Me, ME! Mine, Mine, MINE. There is no room for a case of the “me monsters” in marriage.
The interesting thing is, when we submit to one another, when we make our spouse the priority, when we make love a verb, our needs end up being met in a way we could never imagine. You see, when our spouse is placed first, they want to meet our needs all the more. Then there is this wonderful circular relationship born. A magical dance that ebbs and flows between two people in love that are meeting one another’s needs.
So how are you doing? Got a case of the “me monsters”? Are you at the center of your own universe? Are you leaving your spouse to meet their own needs? Maybe things would look different in your marriage if you made love a verb, if you practiced mutual submission, if you served your spouse.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed
Question: Name a practical way we can serve our spouse?