Sometimes It’s Her: She’s Selfish

July 30, 2014

in Be a grownup, Marriage Killer, Seeing Clearly, Series, Understanding Her, Your Needs

Sometimes it’s not you, it’s her:

Selfishness is a human trait, so it is a given your wife has some selfish areas. It is also human nature to hide our selfishness from friends while allowing it to leak out with our family. Odds are you get more of her selfishness than anyone else does. Selfishness is worse when we feel stressed, overwhelmed, or empty. When we are doing well we manage to control selfishness; when things are going badly selfishness can become a real monster.

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I mention all this because when and why she is selfish matters. If she is always selfish with you, you have a serious problem and you need to get third party help ASAP. If her selfishness waxes and wanes, she is normal and there is hope she can grow up and do better.

Once again, leading by example is your best play. Selfishness begets selfishness; selflessness encourages selflessness. Work on being less selfish, and talk about the process. Ask her for feedback, and ask her to let you know when she feels you are being selfish.

Unless she has invited you to let her know when she is being selfish, saying “you seem particularly selfish today” is probably a bad idea. Instead, ask her about how she is feeling. Ask her if she is upset, tired, or stressed. Your questions will make her aware you see something wrong, and will help her see herself better. 

Work to understand what brings out her selfishness. If being tired makes her selfish, work at helping her not get too tried. Reducing the situations that trigger selfishness is not a solution, but it will help while she grows.

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4 comments
vanhanj
vanhanj

Paul, a note of support. In his name may want a more formal blog; yours is casual and I the reader like it that way! Your casualness is part of you and your blog, like we are sitting and having a cup of coffee on the deck.

Jim VH

inhisname
inhisname

Paul,

As someone in ministry greatly dedicated to Christian marriage and the growth within in it at all stages, I appreciate your and your wife's commitment to Biblical wisdom and the honest lessons you have learned along the way.  However, I want to respectfully ask you to refrain from using the phrase "she can grow up" and other such similar verbiage.  It greatly reduces the respect with which people read your words, and paints the things you have to say in a very immature light - it is cultural slang and something I would expect to hear from a teenager or someone in the heat of anger just looking to make a zippy retort.  I think you and Lori are better than this, and I think the Marriage Bed is better than this.  I have seen it in a few other of your blogs and remember reading comments that were much the same - I prayerfully hope you might take that to heart that the inadvertent use of casual "one liners" might not turn away men and women to your ministry.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@vanhanj Thank Jim. Yes, I do try to be casual here. That choice affects the language I use.


I'd still be interested to know how others hear "grow up".

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@inhisname I will certainly pray about what you have said. 

For perspective, we use that phrase about ourselves all the time. Both with each other, and in talking to others. I am working very hard to grow up, and I have been know to ask friends to pray for me to grow up in certain situations. 

Obviously my use and understanding of the phrase differs from yours. What matters is how others see it. Is it helping most see the goal, or as you suggest putting them off.

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