WHY do we put our spouse ahead of our ‘self’? by Sandee Lester
The “S” in GPS stands for self. In Christian circles, self is a ‘four letter word.’ We are called to give up our “self” to follow the will of God. Our marriage relationship, ideally, should parallel our relationship with God. (More about that later.) Hence, we should always put our spouse ahead of our self. According to the world though, self should rank number one in our priorities.
Self looks out for its own interests and welfare. Most of the time that includes overindulging in fleshly desires. Many people are obese because of too much food. Addiction is a raging problem with alcohol, drugs, sex, and anything else that comes before your relationship with your spouse or God. We are in the midst of a failing economy because of our gluttony for material things. Relationships in and out of marriage remain problematic because everyone fights for their selfish desires.
James 4:1-3 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
If you put an “h” in front of self, let’s say to stand for him or her, and then read it backwards, it spells “flesh.” Self and flesh go hand in hand. The World English Dictionary gives one meaning of flesh as: Physical aspect of humanity: the physical body along with its needs and limitations, as opposed to the soul, mind, or spirit. Notice it says, opposed to the soul, mind, or spirit. As spiritual beings, we temporarily wear this fleshly body, but are not meant to be ruled by it. We get confused though by living in a world that tells us to “Look out for your SELF!”
Unfortunately, we’ve overindulged in that worldly advice. It’s gone too far. We’ve become so entrenched in a “Me, Me, Me!” attitude that we’ve abandoned our traditional values and rules for Godly living. There is barely any truth left in our society. Our basis of judgment now stems on ‘what works for me.’
The more we try to fulfill the desires of the flesh, the yearnings of our self, the deeper the void in our soul becomes. We desperately try to fill it with self indulgence. Only God can fill that empty void and free us from any self-addictions that trouble us. Only then can we experience the rich marriage God intends for us to share with the person we love.
Loaded with worldly contradictions, the Bible speaks clearly about putting others ahead of our self. As one who once lived a worldly life and now strives to live a Christian life, it is not always easy. Without a doubt though, giving up self to follow God’s plan brings a much more joyful life, a much more peaceful life, and opportunity for God to bless you time and time again. The same applies to marriage. Putting your spouses needs ahead of your own (your self) will bring joy, peace, and opportunity for God to bless your marriage.
Stay tuned for Part 2 - HOW do you put your spouse ahead of your ‘self’?