One word to sum up the cause of all marriage problems

December 14, 2010

in 1 + 1 = 1, Marriage Killer

What one word covers all marriage problems?

Selfishness


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.

6 comments
The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

Re: The Love Dare - This has been mentioned a couple of times recently, and it is a great resource. It's not an easy thing to do, especially in a bad marraige, but the man who does it with all he has will almost certainly see a change in his marriage.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Todd - I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately some guys don't get the fully obedient to God part, but rather think that doing things for God and in His name mean the same thing. David had this great idea to build God a "house". His heart was right, but he did not check with God. Fortunately God gave the prophet a dream to set David straight. I've seen too many men treat their bride wrong in the name of serving God. If God didn't really want Abraham yo sacrifice his son, why do some men think God wants them to sacrifice their bride?!

Todd Shillam
Todd Shillam

A loving husband puts God before his wife. By adhering to God's word, the good husband loves his wife just as Christ loved the church simply out of obedience and the promise from God that it will do the husband good--now that's faith. Moreover a husband can have no greater confidence that he is loving his wife as he should when fully obedient to God, and not simply trying to make his wife happy. If a husband is just trying to make his wife happy, then this is putting his wife before God. I have found that with my focus on God and his word put first, then my wife finds herself much more happy with our marriage.

Stephen
Stephen

Your post today is timely. Just this morning I had come to a realization of how selfish I am as a person, how everything is all about me and I had been dwelling on it, only to see it as your topic for today. Your post is the fourth means in the past 2 days that God is using to bring this negative aspect of my personality to light. I never thought of myself as being selfish, even though I'd being getting hints here and there from people, especially my wife about how I like having things being convenient for me, regardless of what others may feel. Within the past 2 days however, I feel as if wool has been pulled from eyes and I can see myself as having a self centered personality. With this insight, I'm going to make an effort to be selfless; it may not be easy but I pray the good Lord gives me the strength. Once again, thank you for such a timely post; it couldn't have come at a better time for me

Steven Pierce
Steven Pierce

Best one yet! So true. We are all undeserving of so much and yet we feel so entitled. Thanks for helping me show my wife the love she doesn't deserve so that I can get the same in return!

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

In a study of authentic love, the type that God says we are to have for our wives, reveals very clearly that selfishness in any form or any degree is the opposite of and replaces love in any relationship, especially in our relationship with our wives. Having said that, when our wives are unknownly acting selfish, if we are loving them as Christ loves the church, then we must act towards our wives the same way Christ acts towards us when we are selfish or act just like our wives are acting to us. Is it easy, No! Is it possible, Definitely Yes with a lot of hard work. I personally have found it much easier to love my wife when she is being selfish if I am truly loving and submitting to God with ALL my heart. My relationship with God has a tendency to be reflected in my relationships especially in my relationship with my wife. If it comes to a point where she does not love you any longer, I want to encourage you to love her like Christ loves the church because His love is very difficult to resist. A helpful tool is to do the 40 days of "Love Dare" with All your heart. It does work, not because she will change but because she will see the change in you.

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