Every time our marriage looked like it was over. I found myself fighting to hang on and I began to examine myself for what I did wrong. I would remember the things I did to hurt my wife. And whether it was in some small ways or in something major I had done, it all came back to one thing. I was selfish.
My selfish ways were toxic to our marriage. I hurt my wife with stupid things just because I was so selfish. I neglected our marriage and caused her to feel lonely and desperate. Simply because I was too selfish to give her and our marriage the best of me.
There were times when I did alright, especially when I was trying to prove to her that we still had a chance. But then once she decided to give us another chance and we would get on the road to rebuilding our marriage, it didn’t take long before I would slip right back into those old selfish ways.
I’m still selfish
Now after all we have been through and now that we have a great marriage, I have to admit, I still find myself being selfish. Both of us can be at times, but now we know how to keep it in check and how to watch out for it. And we know how to extend grace and forgiveness toward each other so that our selfishness doesn’t derail our marriage.
We’re not the only ones with this struggle; we’re all selfish from time to time, it’s just part of the sinful nature we all have to deal with and keep under control. We all have to keep ourselves surrendered to the Lord so that our selfishness doesn’t dominate our lives and everyone around us.
Selfish over selfishness
What if there were positive sides to selfishness? What if it took some good selfishness to overcome bad selfishness? Sounds confusing I know. How could any selfishness be good?
But, I have also noticed how selfishness can be used in our favor. Let me share with you what I mean and maybe you will want to be selfish too.
If you think about it, nearly everything we do has some selfishness at the core of our motivation. In fact, to even be motivated you must have personal reasons, self-interest, something to gain from whatever you do.
Think about this, when it comes to salvation and a relationship with the Lord, who stands to gain from it? I do and you do, it is our lives at stake. Our salvation neither adds nor takes away from who God is, but it means everything to us. Even our desire to live right before God and to grow in our relationship with Him comes from looking out for ourselves and what we have to gain.
So also, when it comes to marriage, why did you get married in the first place? Did you get married to simply make your spouse happy? Or was it because you also believed it was your chance for love, happiness, and an opportunity to have the life you always wanted? Were you not motivated to marry the person who was in your best interest?
Why you should look out for yourself.
Here is my point. I want a great relationship with God. Going to heaven is important to me. I want a great marriage. My health is important. I want great kids. I want a great job. And I want to live a good life. All for the number one reason of how it pleases me, for how it helps me, and for how it serves in my best interest. So really I’m looking out for myself. I’m selfish and I admit it.
The key is I have to intentionally lookout for what is best for me. The choice is mine and I have to choose what I really want over what temporarily pleases me. I have to choose what is good for me over what brings me momentary satisfaction. I have to take care of what really matters to me and let go of the silly selfish things that get in my way.
5 keys to good selfishness
Step back and look at the big picture.
When it’s all said and done, what do you want out of life? And what are you willing to do to get what you want? If you want a great relationship with the Lord, your spouse, and your children, you have to step back and take a look at what is keeping you from having what you want.
It’s okay to want a lot from this life. Great relationships, success in your career, financial security, and exciting experiences are all good. You just have to have your priorities set in order so you always know what to choose when there is a conflict of interest. I believe the priorities should be God first, then spouse, children, career, and ministry.
Use self-control and discipline.
To have the relationship with God you want, you have to discipline your life to spend time with the Lord and to keep yourself from the things that cause you to pull away from Him. The same goes for your marriage and all of your priorities.
Choose your battles carefully.
When it comes to relationships with your spouse, children, co-workers, and others, you will always have conflict. It is a normal process of life to have conflicts and it has to be managed properly to keep conflicts from hurting your relationships. It does you no good to win a battle and lose your relationship.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Very often the key to all four of the previous points is to recognize how much small stuff we deal with every day. Don’t let the urgent of the moment override the bigger picture. Small things have a way of getting more attention than they should when our focus is dominated by our current circumstances.