Marriage Monday: The power of selfishness

Last weekend at Hearts at Home, one of our speakers made this statement: “100% of divorces are caused by selfishness.”  Mark and I have been talking about this statement all week and we have to agree.  So today’s Marriage Monday is all about the damage that selfishness does in marriage.

Jill says…
When I first heard that statement, I initially thought it was a little strong.  But then I started really thinking about it.  I recalled every divorce I could think of where I was familiar with the issues before the divorce and in every situation, selfishness was a part of the cause of the ruin of the relationship.

Mark says…
I, too, initially thought it was a strong statement, but I’ve realized that it is absolutely right. Sometimes it is selfishness on the part of only one spouse and sometimes it is selfishness on the part of both.

Jill says…
Even as we talked through tough issues like affairs, physical or verbal abuse, where one spouse may be a victim, they are a victim of their spouse’s selfishness.  Abuse is selfish. Affairs are the pursuit of selfishness.  “I want out,” is selfish.

Mark says…
When I reflect on our difficult seasons of marriage, I can see how selfishness was at the heart of so much of our conflict.  I wanted to be happy more than I wanted to be holy.  I wanted Jill to behave a certain way.  I wanted her to change in certain ways.  I…I…I…it was all about me…me…me.

Jill says…
And I, too, can see the impact my selfishness has and still can play into our marriage challenges.

Mark says…
Maturing in marriage requires us to turn our selfishness into selflessness.  This isn’t losing ourselves, but rather it is finding joy in serving one another.   Here are some steps for moving from selfishness to selflessness:

1. Stop destructive, selfish behavior on your part. Pay attention to the motive behind your actions.  Resist rationalizing selfish behavior…instead call it what it really is and see yourself as you really are when your actions are selfish.

2. Begin to serve your spouse with “no strings attached.” When we can truly say “I want to bless you, care for you, give to you,” without expecting something in return, we’re learning what selflessness looks like.

3. Love like God. The Bible says, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (Ephesians 5:1-2, The Message)

Jill says…
Being intentional about rooting selfishness out of our marriage, is an important strategy for having a love that lasts a lifetime.

What about you?  How have you worked to move from selfishness to selflessness?

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3 Responses to Marriage Monday: The power of selfishness

  1. marcy says:

    This is so true, my first husband and I divorced after 10 years and I have been working in Divorce Care ministry for several years so I have heard a lot of stories and I agree with the selfishness statement completely. So many times when I am listening to someones story the selfishness of one or both parties is glaring to me, but they just can’t see past it when they are in the situation. I have contimplated for years how some of these marriages could be saved if the parties could only see their own selfishness.

  2. Sandi says:

    I totally agree with this statement. My husband and I went through a difficult season of our marriage in this last year, and it was I who was struggling with selfishness for a long time. I knew that I wasn’t in a good spot but couldn’t figure out how to get out of the pit (there were other things that had happened that had deeply affected our marriage as well). I decided to start focusing on thankfulness and gratitude — I began writing down the things that I was thankful for in my husband, and almost immediately my attitude changed. Spiritually I was in a better spot, too! It took the focus off of myself and put it on God and on being thankful for my husband.

    On another note, I so enjoyed the HAH conference and am rounding up a group to come with me next year!!