Self is the biggest stumbling block to every marriage and the major problem in failing relationships.
How do we apply selflessness in our marital relationship? Oftentimes, our personality interferes with our desire to be selfless. Some people naturally inhabit a selfless attitude, while others may top the charts of selfishness. Unfortunately, it seems that the most selfish people are unaware of this flaw in their character. To the world, though, selfishness can sometimes look admirable to others.
It may take a conscious effort to begin to put your spouse ahead of yourself. Think of the arguments that would cease if you learned to resist the temptation to have your own way. Isn’t that what arguments are usually about? Does it feel good to get your own way? It may initially, but there is usually a price to pay for selfishness.
It goes back to taking your thoughts captive. When those selfish thoughts begin to command your attention, stop them. Ask God for His help. YOU can make the CHOICE whether to walk in the spirit (God’s way) or in the flesh (your way). But what about the woman (or man) who feels like a doormat, a slave who gives, gives, gives, and only feels taken for granted? This is not putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your own; it is compromising your self-worth. There is a very fine line between the two. You have to define that line.
Psalm 139:13–14 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful." Read all of Psalm 139 to see how amazingly well God knows us.
We are children of God. He loves us and only wants the best for us. We are worthy of His love. (NOTHING you have done in the past makes you undeserving of that.) We have to remember who we are in God and not allow human experience to chip away at our self-esteem. If you feel used in your relationship, you may also need to make some changes. Don't allow yourself to be used.
Low self-esteem often causes people to position themselves in situations in which they are taken advantage. We can't fill that lack of self-esteem through our spouses, our children, drugs, alcohol, food, or shopping; only God can heal us and assure us of our worthiness in Him. Self-worth is an important part of our character that needs to be healthy in order for us to fully love others.
You can fulfill the needs of your spouse and act selfless without compromising your self-worth. When you feel used and taken for granted, the line may need to be drawn. You want to remain a godly example to an unsaved spouse, but you don't need to be a doormat to him. Ask God to show you where the line is and to show you how to make the necessary changes for you to break an unhealthy cycle you and your spouse have created.
Psalm 73:23–26 says, "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into your glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
We need to remind ourselves how short our time on Earth is. We need to focus on God and eternity. Our earthly lives are filled with struggles and trials that will continue until we die. Learn from those experiences and realize there will be more struggles and trials down the road. God allows them to strengthen us and to prepare us for whatever incredible plan He intends for our lives.
We all have a purpose for being placed on this earth. Find out what it is and concentrate on fulfilling it by seeking God’s will through prayer and His word. That should be our goal regardless of the circumstances surrounding us. If we focus on His will for us, God will clear the roadblocks that Satan throws in our path. We won’t be so affected by those negative experiences that want to dictate our thoughts and feelings of self-worth. Focusing on God renews our minds and strengthens our self-worth, which in turn gives us the ability to put our spouse’s needs ahead of our own.
If both spouses would learn to put the needs of their spouse ahead of their own, then EVERYONE gets their needs met. Then God can freely bless your marriage because of your obedience to Him and His word.