Monday, June 10, 2013

Marriage Monday: What Destroys More Marriages than Anything Else? {Link up}

Marriage Mondays

Welcome back to Marriage Monday! Did you have a chance to read my marriage post from last week?  If not, you can give it a quick read now by clicking here.  In that post, I shared 10 ways that we tear down our marriages, followed by 10 ways that we can build up our marriages. Today, I want to look at the most common way that we tear down our marriages without even realizing it.  Men and women share equally in their ability to destroy their marriages through this one deceptive device; however, I'll be focusing on the wife's perspective, since the primary purpose of my blog is to encourage and speak into the lives of women, especially the younger woman.

The number one weapon of mass destruction that destroys more homes and marriages than any other is simply Selfishness.  

Selfishness manifests itself through self-focus, self-centeredness, self-actualization, self-pity, self-worship, self-pleasing, and assorted other self-serving attitudes and actions.

As wives, we want out husbands to do things our way.  We think we know better than our husbands do, especially when it comes to how to raise our children.  We often think that our way is right or more godly, so we refuse to submit to our husbands' authority.  

We think we deserve a more comfortable life and refuse to be content with the standard of living that our husbands provide for us, so we either complain, drive them to change jobs or take on more debt, or we take matters into our own hands and go get a job that will bring in the additional income we desire.  

We think our plans and desires for how we spend time are more important or noble than their ideas of how to spend the evening or the weekend.  So, we accept invitations without even consulting them or insist that we get our way when it comes to what we do, which invitation we accept, where we go to eat, etc.

We think all holidays should be spent with our families, not theirs.

We think our husbands should take us out to eat, because we don't feel like cooking and we "deserve a break today."

We reject our husbands' advances yet again, because we are tired or have a headache or want to be left alone.

Oh the curse of selfishness!!  We are all born with a sin nature that makes us selfish to the core!  If we were fortunate, we had parents that sought to train us to live above the pull of our selfish sin natures and to think of others and do what's right.  We are truly blessed indeed if we learned somewhere along the way that we can't live that way in our own strength, and turned to Jesus to free us from our bondage to sin (and selfishness) and enable us to live our lives in the power of His Holy Spirit, so we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  (Galatians 5:16-25

How do we overcome selfishness so we can build up our marriages?

1. Develop a servant's heart!  

The second part of Galatians 5:13 says, "through love serve one another."  Don't wait until you feel like it!  Start now serving your husband in love.  Your feelings will eventually follow your actions.  It may be hard at first; your flesh may rebel!  Just keep serving and it will get easier.  Every single day look for ways to help and serve your husband!

2. Submit to his leadership. 

It really doesn't matter whether you agree with it or not, the Bible commands wives to submit to their husbands, as unto the Lord, and to treat them respectfully. At the same time, the Bible commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and to also love their wives as much as their own bodies. (See Ephesians 5:22-33.)  Are wives off the hook if their husbands don't love them in such a self-sacrificing way?  Well, as my Mom used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right!"  Neither do they make a successful marriage!  

3. Put him first.  

Learn to put your husband's needs, wants, desires, and preferences above your own whenever possible.  Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

Does all of this sound like a bitter pill to swallow?  A prescription for a life of misery??  In reality, the more we grasp after self-fulfillment and pleasing self in all things, the more miserable we will be.  (Ever follow the lives of any of the Hollywood stars??)  

The Christian life is full of paradoxes.  One paradox is that a life given away in loving service to others brings true joy and fulfillment!

"The secret of a successful marriage is selflessness and serving. If you are trying to get something out of your marriage for yourself, you will never be satisfied. It doesn't work that way. Forget about yourself and think of all the ways you can serve and satisfy your husband. This will bring you joy and freedom. This will release your husband to love you." ~ Nancy Campbell, founder and editress of Above Rubies

"When we thoroughly understand our role as help meets, begin to practice joy and thanksgiving in performing that role, and turn our hearts to reverencing our husbands, only then can we expect to experience a heavenly marriage."  ~ Debi Pearl in Created to be His Help Meet

Your Turn to Share:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. How has the sin of selfishness damaged your marriage?  How have you overcome selfishness and learned to serve and prefer your husband?  What is one specific way you will serve your husband this week?  Please share by leaving a comment here or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged and built up as wives!

If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!

Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!

marriage mondays

Blogs I link up with from week to week:

Happy Wives Club


The Alabaster Jar

Marriage Moment

Growing Home

Courtship Connection


Messy Marriage

Missional Women

Please link up your blog post on marriage below. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)


Chris said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, for hosting this hop and for sharing encouragement and practical "advice."
Submitting and acquiescing is not be underrated....I agree with everything you have posted here.There's a balance, always, but sometimes I've found that I just have to "go along" b.c the good outweighs the bad...OR if it doesn't I need to just build up and be positive rather than argue abt minor stuff. Very little is worth anger.Now, if I can just get my hubby to see this....hmmmm....

Thanks, friend.
Havea lovely day!

niner said...

Mrs. Ours,
I love reading your posts. I'm nearing this stage in my life and I am anxious to know the do's and dont's. I have to tell you though, when I read the title of your post today, I guessed it. Selfishness is what I struggle with most and I see how it directly effects the health of my relationship. But just as much, when I love Jesus and love Joey out of that love, and am truly concerned about him and his needs, I find pure joy and true fulfillment. Thanks for sharing.

Ren Blogger said...

I linked up ahead of you on Proverbs 31 and I linked up to you so, I *really* need to leave a comment ;) great post as always! I'm going to try and *not* ask my husband to change a poopy diaper after work this week. Small but, it represents my personal brand of selfish.

Lori @ said...

Being selfless is important in every season of marriage, and sometimes if you're in a cold and blustery season it just might nudge your marriage toward a spring-time renewal.

One thing I'd like to add is that as a wife you need to know the heart of your husband - to understand where the your efforts will be most needed/appreciated. Sometimes what we "assume" would be a gift of selflessness to your husband might not be such a gift.

When our kids were small, the house was a constant battle to keep in order. I'd feel so awful when my husband would come home and go like a whirl-wind around the house putting away toys and rearranging the cushions on the couch - etc. So I tried harder to get things in order... However after a long conversation he revealed that he truly valued his role when he came home. That period of time allowed him to "settle" in and unwind from his day outside the home. By making the house perfect when he arrived, I was removing that adjustment period he enjoyed. (ironic, I know)

Now that our kids are grown and gone and it's just the two of us at home, I think of that time often. Robert just returned from a week-long trip and he spent the last hour rearranging the kitchen, and sweeping the floors (even though in my perspective they didn't need it!)

It's going to sound funny - but I need to put away my ego, and just let him do what he needs to do to feel comfortable. That's my adjustment into selflessness today...

Knowing WHY and whether your spouse values a particular selfless task from you - and when it's important to speak up and give your perspective because that is also honoring him... that's the key.

RhiannonSTR said...

I can't tell you how much I agree with serving even if you don't feel like it. It's absolutely true that your feelings will soon follow! I've experienced this so many times. There have been so many times that for whatever reason I felt like he owed me something or he didn't deserve my love for some reason. The times that I have been able to recognize that I was doing it and give love even though it wasn't what I really wanted to do, two things happened. First: the "mood" in our relationship changed to one that was more loving and close. Second: after I took the loving action I felt love for him and then inspired to take even more loving action. This has been true EVERY time for me.

MrsP said...

When are we ever going to get it? Marriage is a giving, not a getting proposition. I remember hearing one young woman bemoan that she realized there was no one to marry but another wonder God has told us: Your Maker is your Husband. The Lord Almighty is His Name. Yes.

Rosilind Jukic said...

Excellent post. My husband always quotes my dad (who said this upon our marriage) - "there is nothing like marriage to reveal how deeply selfish you really are". So true!! I know it's true for me. I need to try harder! Thank you for this wonderful post!

Fawn Weaver said...

Great point! Selfishness is the killer of love not only in a marriage but in every relationship in life. And what a horrible life it is when one lives a selfish one.

The Provision Room said...

Love that Nancy Campbell quote!!!

Julie said...

Oh my, I needed this today! Thank you for sharing.

Beth said...

I've been meeting with a group of women who want to pray together for their marriages for about 7 months now. And one theme keeps popping up in our prayers--to learn to submit to our husbands. It's such a hard area for women, myself included. But God is teaching us great things as we learn to trust Him while taking the leap of faith to trust our husbands. Thanks for sharing this, Elizabeth. It's a vitally important area!

Gail @ said...

Amen! All good points, good advice.
And, yes, marriage is the union of 2 selfish people trying to overcome their selfishness and become a couple.

Hazel Moon said...

As I saw your title, I thought to myself what is the number one reason to destroy a marriage, and YOU hit the nail right on the head with Selfishness. This is a wonderful post and I can see you put into practice what you teach

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