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 that 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 an example from growing up. Sometimes it is 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 is 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 does not tell us to ignore our own needs, feeling, or desires, but to find a balance between what we find important and what others find important. Most of that time that balance should tip in favour of others, but tip, not tip over! A very long time ago, someone told me that “Love your neighbour as yourself” did not work if you did not love yourself! Exactly right; not liking ourselves is not the basis for a healthy marriage.
If you do not care for yourself, if you will not stand up for yourself, and your wife will find it difficult to respect you. I have 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 are a doormat, and make changes before it is 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 does not give him everything he wants. For a time a man may find benefits from such a wife, but unless he is 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.