Can you for once stop being so selfish?
I never realized how selfish I had been in my marriage until, wait for it ... the planning of our 25th wedding anniversary.
I don’t mean selfish in the big things. I loved my husband more than words could say. I enjoyed doing things for him, making him happy, spending time with him, and so on.
I mean selfish in the little things.
Every date we went on, every family activity, every vacation had always been where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.
But even the little things matter. Whether it’s how and where our time is spent, how small decisions are made, what directions we follow on a road trip, or how the household chores are done. It shouldn’t always have to be my way.
As we sat down to plan a vacation for our 25th anniversary, I discovered my husband wanted to go on a cruise. That was the last thing I was interested in doing, for many reasons. Most of them were related to fears.
What if we got stuck in the middle of the ocean? What if the ship lists? Or sinks? What if someone puts a bomb on the ship?
Crazy thoughts, I know, but they were making agreeing to a cruise almost impossible.
I began talking about how much I’d love to go to an all-inclusive resort on a tropical island. It wasn’t hard at all to convince him. He was used to doing the things that I preferred to do.
And then it hit me how selfish I had been. I realized how much joy it had brought him over the years to see me happy as we did all the things I wanted to do.
I asked myself, “Can you for once, stop being so selfish, and do something that he wants to do?” I was reminded that real love is not self-serving, nor does it insist on having its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
We went on that cruise. And he was all smiles the entire seven days. It was one of our best vacations ever!
We even renewed our vows on the ship, with the captain performing the ceremony. It was a very special time that spoke so much love and value to my husband, and drew us even closer together.
The good stuff: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)
Action points: Think about your relationship. When you do things together, is it usually what you want to do? When was the last time you did something with your spouse that he or she wanted to do (even if it isn’t your thing)? Share with each other some things you’d each like to do together. Then make two dates and take turns doing what you know will make your spouse happy and feel valued. Commit to making this a habit.
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