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Maybe You’re Too Selfish

This month my wife and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. In thinking through various events of the past 18 years, I’ve made an interesting discovery. Every single time that we’ve had conflict in our marriage, it was due to someone being selfish.

And by someone, I mean me.

I’m not going to say that our arguments are always my fault, but only because I’m too stubborn to admit that.

“Wait a minute,” I hear some of you objecting. “Surely in 18 years at least some of the fights are your wife’s fault.”

Actually, wait, that’s not your voice; that’s my pride objecting.

It is true. I can’t think of a single time that we’ve had a disagreement about anything where the issue didn’t boil down to my own selfishness.

The aforementioned struggle with pornography was an obvious issue of selfishness, but even less obvious fights were rooted in it, too.

When our kids were little, and we fought over me not getting home on time, I could justify myself and say that work kept me really late. And that was true, but only because I didn’t assert myself in the service of my family.

In disagreements about when and how to reprimand and/or punish the kids, my selfish desire to be right has overruled my desire for peace in our marriage.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to beat myself up too much. Better to just get over myself.

Getting Over Yourself

Selfishness causes fights; service avoids them.

When I serve my wife, I choose to ignore my initial desires in favor of hers.

When a quarrel arises, ask yourself if you’re being selfish.

The easiest way to end an argument is to think about why your side is important to you and why your wife’s side is important to her.

Am I saying you should be a pushover, that you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in?

Not at all. Or, well, maybe.

I’m saying to respect your wife enough to defer to her on issues that don’t matter in the grand scheme.

If you have a fundamental disagreement with your wife, ask yourself if you’re arguing from selfish motives or from a principle. If you determine that it’s a principle, find a way to articulate the principle to your wife without arguing.

Everyone thinks they’re right and that their spouse should see things their way.

Determine that your marriage is more important than your way of doing things.

Homework

Think back over arguments or disagreements in your marriage. How did selfishness contribute? Were you the selfish one, or was your wife to blame (hint: it was you)? Decide now to put your wife’s desires above your own. Determine to resolve conflicts by serving your wife instead of demanding your own way.

 

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