Seen on-line: “You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s life ahead of yours and think that counts as love.”
I talk a good deal about “you for her”, acts of service, and how you should be ready to sacrifice for your wife. That is all good, important, and a result of love, but just doing those things does not mean you are loving well!
Some folks play doormat – always letting others walk all over them, maybe even inviting it! Often this is a result of a low self-image, other times it is a result of fear or a bad example from growing up. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding of the Bible’s instructions to “count others more significant than yourselves.”
The “count others more significant” passage is found in Philippians 2:3-4, and there’s more to it:
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” [ESV, emphasis mine]
The Bible doesn’t tell us to ignore our own needs, feelings, or desires, but to find a balance between what we find important and what others find important. Most of the time that balance should tip in favour of others, but tip, not tip over! A very long time ago, someone told me Love your neighbour as yourself” didn’t work if you didn’t love yourself! Exactly right; not liking ourselves is not the basis for a healthy marriage.
If you don’t care for yourself, if you won’t stand up for yourself, and your wife will find it difficult to respect you. I’ve known nice guys who did everything for their wife who ended up divorced because she used him until she had no respect left for him and then moved on. If you see yourself in this, I suggest you do some significant thinking and praying. Figure out why you’re a doormat, and make changes before it’s too late.
Women also play doormat. Some were taught this is how a woman is supposed to act. Some call it submission; others say a man will leave a woman if she doesn’t give him everything he wants. For a time a man may find benefits from such a wife, but unless he’s exceptionally selfish he will grow weary of it. Women can also do this with their children, which is bad for them and the kids.
If your wife has any doormat tendencies, talk with her and try to help her find a better balance of her needs and everyone else’s needs.