The Greatest Enemy to the Marriage You Desire
Trish and I had only been dating two months when I told her I loved her.
I loved how she looked. I loved her Chicago accent. I loved her 1993 poofy hair. I loved the way she walked. I loved her smile. I loved the way she took her time in conversations with others. I loved everything about her.
I wouldn’t change anything about her. She was perfect for me.
Then we got married.
It didn’t take long to realize she wasn’t so perfect.
- She didn’t do laundry when I thought it should be done.
- We didn’t have sex as often as I thought we should.
- She didn’t balance the check book in the same way I would balance it.
- She didn’t give me as much attention as I thought I needed.
- She didn’t do household chores the way I would do them.
- She didn’t meet my needs the way I thought they should be met.
So we would argue. She would argue with me, believing that an argument would change me. She could change the way I wanted laundry done. She could change my sex drive to match hers. She could change me.
I would argue believing I could win. I could change her through guilt trips. I could make her feel guilty enough to have sex with me more; to keep the house cleaner; to cook more often; to meet my needs more. She needed to change.
Living to change your spouse is an exhausting way to live.
The thing I’ve learned in 18 years of marriage is that arguments don’t change anyone’s heart. They may change their behavior for a few days, but not their heart.
Guilt trips will never bring lasting change to a marriage. They will change behavior for a few weeks but resentment and bitterness will live in the heart of the person that is made to feel guilty.
Every marriage fights against the same enemy. If you are married you will fight this enemy today. No, this enemy isn’t your spouse…it is you.
Selfishness is the greatest enemy to the marriage you desire.
Your own selfishness can prevent you from having the marriage God has in mind for you.
Marriage isn’t for selfish people.
My ability to put Trish’s needs ahead of my own will always determine the quality of my marriage.
You may be thinking, “Wait a second! I’m not going to be selfless unless my spouse chooses to be selfless”.
That is totally natural to think that. But that is the essence of selfishness…thinking of your own needs, wants and desires first.
Your marriage will never change if you rely on your ability to change your spouse.
But your marriage can be transformed if you put your spouses needs ahead of your own. Your marriage will be different immediately if you will allow God to change you.
It is a risk. There is no guarantee your spouse will reciprocate.
But I can promise you that the climate of your marriage relationship will change when your spouse realizes that you no longer exist to fight with them, you are living to fight for them. That will make all the difference.
Fighting for your spouse will weaken the hold selfishness has in your heart.
The question is will you choose to stop fighting to be right and start fighting to be one?