Summary: Focuses on selfishness in Marriage
Marriage Part 4: Me, Myself & I
Previously we have discussed the blood covenant, the marriage vows and last week how we must decide how to make our marriages into one. The focal point from last week’s message was to clarify the need to examine what each of us brings into a marriage. To determine how, with all of those “ingredients” from two different families, two individuals can come together as one, building something new. This week’s message continues with this thought, but takes a slightly different look at how we go about deciding what “ingredient” to give up and what to keep in order to come together as one “new something”.
Conduct demonstration with a couple choosing the money.
I. Selfishness Can Kill A Marriage
Feelings of selfishness and self-centeredness are natural to all of us but are harmful to the health of a marriage. During our engagement and early marriage, we find ourselves experiencing a high level of romance and emotional closeness. But as time goes by, we sometimes feel more distant. If you think about it, one of the main reasons that people marry is to have a close, personal relationship with another person. But this intimacy does not come easily just because you marry. This can be explained in a variety of ways, but the central theme is almost always the same, selfishness. In last week’s message I told you that each person in the marriage must choose what they will need to give up or keep from their backgrounds in order to make something new. When this must be put into practice, selfishness always shows up. We ask questions like “Why do I have to be the one to always give up, or give in?” Sound familiar? In the demonstration earlier, what would you have done if you were with your spouse? Would you have chosen to take the least amount of money and leave the rest for your wife, or would you have taken the most and left the least for your wife? This simple exercise points to how we consider the other person in the relationship. I did not share with the couple what my intentions were because had they known, their responses could have been influenced.
Isaiah 53:6 says “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way..”
Isaiah speaks of the sins of Israel and how they have turned away from their God and went after their own way. I want you to think about the impact of what they were doing and consider that for your marriage. What happens when both partners, whether because of jobs, lack of interest or whatever, they choose to go their own way in the marriage? Although you may be married on paper, you are not building the marriage for which God had ordained for you to build. While you think on this, think back to selfishness. Can you remember a child when you were growing up who was selfish and always wanted things his or her way? If you can’t think of someone, think of Angelica from the cartoon Rugrats. She must always have her way. What generally happens to people who are selfish and self-centered? They generally end up alone, being isolated. This same thing happens within a marriage. You can live in a house with someone and still feel isolated because of one person being selfish. Isolation happens when people in the marriage drift apart from each other. Selfishness works against building the oneness in all marriages.
I like to think of myself as being a man who cares deeply about his family, who would do anything for them and want the best for them. Because I see my self in such a wonderful way, it is hard for me to consider the fact that there are ways in which I am selfish. Contrary to this, it is very easy for me to see some of the things that my family does as being selfish. For example, after a long week of traveling, I should be able to come home and relax, maybe go golfing but just chill. I should not have to do chores, cut the grass, go to the store, etc, etc, etc. For me, I deserve my “down time” and it is selfish of others to impede on my time just because they have things they may want me to do. What about me and what I want and need? Sound reasonable? It should be okay for me to feel this way. But consider the other side that is especially hard for me to see sometimes. I travel during the week and I come home with my expectations about what I need after a long week on the road. Now while I was gone, Nikki took care of everything the family needed. If the kids had appointments, she had to take them. If they had games or school functions, she had to take them. If something broke at the house, she had to fix it. My daughters, during the week, were without their father. So it is natural that they may want some of my time when I returned. They had events in their life that they wanted to share. Maybe they just wanted me to spend some time with them watching a movie. In their minds, who is being selfish? I am not trying to say either is right or wrong, but it is how we think and why our thinking needs to change if we are to build the oneness in our marriages. It does not mean that I do not get to go out and play or have time to myself, but I need to consider their needs also as I consider my own and this is what can be very difficult to do. It is always easier to see selfishness in others than to see it in your self.