I’m a selfish person. I put my own needs above others. I am always thinking about the ways my spouse could be serving me instead of the other way around. I work hard in my job to provide well financially. I spend hours and hours on laundry and dishes every single day. I use emotional stamina to think through family decisions. How can my spouse ever compete with all the time and effort I put in to loving our family well?
Does any of that sound familiar? Unfortunately, we all struggle with selfishness. As believers, we know we have to fight our natural, sinful tendencies when it comes to selfishness, but it isn’t always easy. Marriage can become a very selfish place if we aren’t careful to actively guard against it. In our busy day to day lives, selfishness can creep in because we feel justified in the fact that we are sacrificing so much for our family.
How do we keep selfishness from festering and becoming a major problem in our marriages?
Here are 5 easy ways to fight selfishness on a daily basis in our marriage:
- Admit that you are selfish. Sounds simple, right? Admitting you act in selfishness brings awareness to the problem. You are being vulnerable and transparent when you vocalize your sin to your spouse.
- Recognize your spouse’s value and be thankful for it. Notice the little things that your spouse does to sacrifice for your needs. I am sure, like my spouse, there are many. Sometimes just taking your attention off of yourself and recognizing the value your spouse brings to your family’s life will be a complete mood booster.
- Change your demands to requests. My mother used to always tell me, “It isn’t what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference.” This rings so true in marriage. When we demand things, our spouse feels small and defensive, but when we ask in humility and full of grace, the same desire or need is welcomed and accomplished with joy.
- Approach your spouse with humility. A prideful heart never ends well. Approaching every situation and every conversation with humility and grace is the goal. Putting away the “me” mentality to make room for the “we” is always a good way to humbly approach your spouse.
- Extend forgiveness regularly. (Ephesians 4:31-32). We have the power to forgive each other because Christ forgave us. Let go of harbored hurts through the power of the Holy Spirit. You will then have the freedom to love your spouse better, and in return they will feel that and love you even more.
Philippians 2:3-4 tell us to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.”
That verse is such a wonderful model for marriage. It is our joy and honor to be able to put our spouses interests and needs above our own. Selfishness is a vicious cycle with no winner. Giving of ourselves can be difficult but that is not the same thing as bad. Like any other “habit,” learning to fight selfishness will come easier the more you practice. Use these 5 tips to get in the habit of making more of your spouse and less of yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed!