What one word covers all marriage problems?
He’s selfish, she’s selfish, and the combination of two selfish people can get really ugly and painful. To add to the problem we are all over sensitive to others being selfish, and far less aware of our own selfishness. That means for many couples each is convinced they are, or have been, the less selfish, more giving in the marriage. That in turn lets them feel justified in doing less (becoming even more selfish) while they wait for their spouse to do his or her part. It’s a wonder the divorce rate is “only” 50%!
Okay, I know your spouse really is the more selfish of the two of you, and you want Lori to send this message out to the TGW list. In the mean time, do you want to do something about this, or do you want to ride your marriage into the ground secure in the feeling that it will be her fault? Is your marriage important enough to you that you would be willing to do something your bride “does not deserve” to help the marriage? Is what you would gain from a better marriage worth the humiliation of loving, giving and serving her when she is doing so little for you? Do you have the guts (or gonads) to be a man even though your wife does not treat you like one?
Here’s the deal – any marriage will benefit from less selfishness. If your bride became less selfish, you would both benefit. Thing is, there is no way for you to get her to be more or less anything. However, you do have the power to change your actions, words, and even thoughts (that last taking a lot more time and effort). You can sit by while it stays the same (or gets worse), or you can do something. As to your perception of who is more selfish, given the reality that we favour ourselves, I would suggest that the vast majority of us are more selfish than we think we are. If you don’t think you are doing more for your bride than your bride is doing for, you are probably doing far less than she is.
I do realise that some of you are honestly in an unbalanced marriage, and you really are the less selfish. While this makes life difficult, I don’t know that it changes the advice. If you do less, the marriage suffers. If you do more the marriage might improve. If you “give up” too soon, you are giving up on any chance for a good marriage.
I also realise that some of you know you are the more selfish in your marriage – maybe very much so. I don’t know how one manages to justify that, but regardless of how you tell yourself it’s okay, or at least not something you need to deal with right just yet, you need to realise that your bride won’t put up with it forever. One day, probably without warning and probably without you having any idea it has happened, she will reach the end of her ability to cope, and her love for you will die. Once that happens it’s all over. I can’t say it’s impossible to recover such a marriage, but it’s extremely difficult, takes a huge amount of time and effort, and often the results are poor at best. If you are overly selfish, you’re killing your marriage a bit more each day, and by the time you see the results it will likely be too late to fix things.