Marriage woke me up to a side of myself that had never before been so exposed.
It was there, lurking beneath the surface, working in my life in ways that were hardly visible. But in marriage, the veil ripped away and my selfishness became evident.
At first, it was the little things. “Let’s go see the movie of my choice,” or asking my husband to stay up late talking when I know he’s exhausted from a long day of work.
But as time went on, it grew.
I wanted my husband to communicate my way, to be intentional in the ways that I desired and in return for these requests, my own heart was complacent.
With each passing day, I was faced with a choice: to acknowledge and fight my selfishness or to turn my face and allow it to work within our marriage.
As hard as it is, we must take the first step. If we don’t, that selfishness will weave cracks into the very foundation of our marriages. And it will threaten the health and well-being of the sacred covenant we committed to.
So how do we deal with this invisible and yet achingly real threat to our marriages?
As we so often hear, the first step to any problem is admitting that there is a problem.
It can be so hard to step over our pride and admit to our shortcomings. But it is an essential part to fighting the threats in our marriages and in our lives.
How do you acknowledge the selfishness in your marriage when it has become so natural and so hidden in the everyday?
First, we must be willing to admit that it is there, whether or not we immediately see it’s working. When you do this, your eyes will be readjusted and you will begin to see everything in a different light.
Ask God to reveal to you any selfishness that hides within your marriage. Ask Him to show you where you can seek to follow His call more closely.
And most importantly, ask Him to help you set aside your pride in the process.
That was the hardest thing for me.
Our pride blinds us to the very things that cause our pain.
Don’t allow Satan to have a foothold on your heart and in your marriage.
Acknowledge the selfishness in your marriage and you will see your heart and your marriage begin to transform.
Seek the Holy Spirit
The only one who can transform our hearts is the Holy Spirit within us. When faced with such an overwhelming transformation, it can be hard to believe that change is possible.
After all, we’ve lived this way for years. How can I suddenly expect my heart to change?
Don’t get discouraged as your eyes are opened to selfishness. We all face it in our lives and in our marriages.
We all must wait for the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts.
So, seek Him. Seek God’s will and His heart for you in marriage.
Spend time every day in prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit to transform your heart.
I began spending ten minutes every morning praying for my marriage and for my husband. As I did this, it became evident how essential it was for me to start praying for my own heart in my marriage.
I wanted transformation. I wanted deeper connection. I wanted greater intimacy.
And I thought that if I prayed for my husband to change that I would see those things grow in my marriage.
But it wasn’t until I began to pray for my own heart and my own transformation that those very things took root in my marriage and grew.
The Holy Spirit is guiding us to transformation, deeper connection and greater intimacy. Ask Him to work in your heart and you will see these things grow in your marriage.
As much as I want those ten minutes of prayer to transform me, it isn’t enough. When we pray, we must then boldly act.
As I prayed for my selfishness to be exposed and my heart to transform, I suddenly saw more opportunities to serve my husband.
I noticed how tired he was after work and offered to go to bed early with him. I saw how willing he was to watch the movie of my choice and I instead insisted we watch his.
All of these opportunities, although seemingly small, began to appear throughout the day. And as the Holy Spirit began working in my heart, I felt called to act and to serve.
The greatest weapon against selfishness is service.
I encourage you to look for opportunities to serve your spouse this week. Ask them what you can do to help them out. Offer to do the things that you know they like.
As we seek to serve our spouses, we will smother the selfishness out of our marriages.
And in doing so, we will bring the power of God into the very foundation of our marriage.