ove is not selfish. Yet we live in a world that is enamored with self. The culture all around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as the top priorities. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger from this kind of thinking becomes painfully apparent once inside a marriage relationship.
If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness. Unfortunately it is something that is ingrained into every person from birth. Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but we justify in ourselves. Don’t be hypocritical by pointing out the many ways your spouse is selfish without first looking at yourself. That’s when you will have to admit that you can be selfish too. Why do we have such low standards for ourselves but high expectations for our mate? The answer is that we are all selfish.
When a spouse put their interests, desires, and priorities in front of their mate and complain about the time and energy they spend meeting their spouses’ needs…..that’s a sign of selfishness. On the other hand the ones who are enjoying the full purpose of marriage are bent on taking good care of the other flawed human they get to share life with. That’s because true love looks for ways to say “yes, may I help you.”
One aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish, if the motive is to gain bragging rights or for receiving a reward. If you do a good thing to deceitfully manipulate your spouse, you are still being selfish. The bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for your spouse or love for yourself.
Love will never be satisfied except in the welfare of others. You can’t be acting out of real love and selfishness at the same time. Choosing to love your mate will cause you to say “no” to what you want to so you can say “yes” to what they need. That’s putting the happiness of your partner above your own. By doing this you both win.
Love also leads to inner joy. When you prioritize the wellbeing of your mate, there is a resulting fulfillment that cannot be duplicated through selfish actions. This is a benefit that God created and reserves for those who genuinely demonstrate love. The truth is, when you relinquish your rights for the sake of your mate, you get a chance to lose yourself to the greater purpose of marriage.
If you find it hard to sacrifice your own desires to benefit your spouse, then you may have a deeper problem with selfishness than you want to admit. You have a reputation in the eyes of those around you, and especially in the eyes of your spouse. Remember your marriage partner has the challenge of loving a selfish person also. You must determine to be the first to demonstrate real love to them with your eyes wide open. Seek to be fulfilled. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important that yourself.” Philippians 2:3 (My thoughts with The Love Dare, p. 10-12).