I have been watching a show recently on Netflix, and slowly but surely I am working my way through the series. This show follows the lives of four siblings and their dealings with their parents and children alike. About a month ago I made it to season five, and I noticed a theme in this season that hurt my heart. It was the theme of entitlement. In this season a wife felt like she was entitled to travel, whether her husband wanted her to or not, because she deserved it. She had sacrificed for her family long enough, and now it was her turn. A husband and wife also had this dynamic going on. He felt entitled to pour his all into work since his wife had in the past, whether that meant neglecting the needs of his family or not, and as a result, his wife felt justified in seeking comfort elsewhere, and having outbursts towards her husband. As the season progressed all I could think was, “Oh Jesus, may this never happen to my marriage.”
The events I told you didn’t just suddenly happen in the show. They slowly simmered over five seasons, and then everything boiled over. As I watched, I realized how terribly dangerous entitlement and selfishness can be in marriage. Today I want to talk to you about selfless love. Let’s take a look at three ways we can let a selfless love lead us in our marriage:
1. It’s Not all About You
I am sure many of you have heard this said before when referring to marriage, but maybe some of you have not. Regardless of if this is the first, or fiftieth, time you’ve heard this, we can all use this reminder. I know that I can! Perhaps you have also heard this said to you, “Marriage isn’t 50/50; it’s 100/100.” This is so true. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the trap of thinking, “Well, he didn’t do this for me, so I won’t do that for him either.” Your husband will inevitably fail you. Do you know why? Because he’s human; he isn’t perfect! Just because our husband may have failed us, does not give us permission as wives to fail them. It sounds so harsh, but oh, it is so true… marriage isn’t all about you.
2. You Are Part of an ‘Us’
Building off of that last point, if you want to be happy in marriage, invest in your ‘us’. I know that everyone’s marriage looks different, so it is hard to give a formula that would work for everyone, but I want you to ask yourself, “What is a way that I can invest in my ‘us’ more than I am currently?” Maybe it is respecting your husband and valuing what he says. Maybe it is giving him the physical touch he so desires. Maybe it is affirming him and building him up with your words. Maybe it is allowing him to take an afternoon off to completely rest while you take the kids. I want to venture to say this: chances are that when you begin to consistently invest into your ‘us’, the other half of your ‘us’ will respond with the love and affection you also so desperately crave. Investing into your ‘us’ is investing into yourself.
3. Let Jesus Lead Your Love
I don’t want to know where I would be without Jesus. I honestly don’t know how anyone can get by in marriage without Him! I want to encourage you to refuel daily by spending time with God. Yes, we need our love tanks filled by our husband, and God intended marriage to work that way, but first and foremost, we need our tank filled up by God. How do we do this? Spend time in God’s Word every day. Take time in the morning to offer up thanksgiving to God and to cast your burdens at His feet. I also want to encourage you to pray in the spirit. The Bible tells us that, “Those who speak in tongues build up themselves” (New Revised Standard Version, 1 Corinthians 14.4). That verse literally translates to “charges themselves up like a battery.” I don’t know about you, but I know that I need to be recharged on a daily basis. You wouldn’t expect your car to run on empty, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to either. If you want to have something to pour out, you need to have the Holy Spirit fill you up daily.
We live in a world that tells us the opposite of what I just shared with you today. We live in a culture that tells us, “You deserve this; you earned it; do this for yourself; it’s all about you; live for the moment.” That may be what the world tells us, but that’s not what God’s Word tells us. The Bible tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind daily (Romans 12.12). In order not to slip into this trap of selfishness and entitlement, make sure you keep God’s Word before you. Here is what He says about love,
“We love because he first loved us” (NIV, 1 John 4.19).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (NIV, 1 Corinthians 13. 4-7).
“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (NIV, Matthew 20.28).
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (NIV, Ephesians 4.2).
May your heart and mind be transformed by what GOD says our love should look like, not what the world says. It is my prayer that as you love your spouse in a selfless way, that your spouse will respond to you in the same manner.
Bible translation used:
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.