During our 1-hour live stream, Growing in Transparency & Intimacy in Your Marriage, guests Ryan and Selena Frederick from Fierce Marriage and authors of See Through Marriage, answered some questions about transparency in marriage.
Here is one of the questions, along with Ryan and Selena’s answer: How does selfishness chip away at the health of a relationship? The answer starts at 54:09, the transcript is below.
Selena: Being selfish is like a hammer to your marriage. I don’t think we realise how selfish we are until we’re married. I really realised how selfish I was when I had children! We are either me-centered, or we are God-centered.
Being me-centered is our default. That’s what we’re waging against: this sinful, broken self that is all about me. When I’m me-centered, I’m going to feel feelings of entitlement, like: Why doesn’t my husband treat me the way that he should treat me? Why are we not going on these elaborate vacations? Why are we not spending the money that I want to spend, or do what I want to do?
Selfishness begins to chip away at the foundation of understanding the gospel and how we are called to be stewards of our resources or stewards of each other’s hearts.
Ryan: It’s antithetical to biblical love. And that’s what you’re getting at – that the call of biblical love is selflessness. It’s dying to self.
Selfishness extracts everything from my spouse: you are a resource of mine – whether it’s for my sexual desires – you’re something to extract value from. And that’s what selfishness does. It says: I need to get as much out of you as I can. Do what I want you to do. As soon as that stops, then we have a problem, because now you’re no longer a valuable resource to me.
Selfishness extracts everything from my spouse: you are a resource of mine – whether it’s for my sexual desires – you’re something to extract value from.
The opposite of that is selfless love. So the picture that comes to mind here in the selfish side is Sméagol, Gollum, in Lord of the Rings. He’s so wrapped around the “precious.” He has to have it. And what does it do to him? Over time it just turns him into this shrivelled, decrepit creature.
Our selfishness will do the same thing in marriage.
Biblical love has the opposite effect: You flourish. Psalms 128 says,- “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord. His wife will be like a fruitful vine. His children will be olive shoots around his tables. He will see his children and his children’s children. He’ll see the flourishing of Israel, of God’s kingdom.”
Selflessness that is rooted in the fear of the Lord – that says, my marriage is not my own; I am called to steward – that will have the opposite effect. We will flourish instead of shriveling and dying.
We’ll flourish, and we’ll bear fruit – and it’s a multiplying fruit. That’s the thing: generosity begets generosity, love begets love.
So, to answer the question, selfishness is a cancer to every relationship, to every marriage, and it needs to be rooted out.
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