The Harmful Effects of "Me First"
A few days ago, I read a post by a police wife that absolutely broke my heart. Her officer husband had text her before walking in the door to let her know that he would be coming in and going directly upstairs to play video games, and for her not to bother him.
I could immediately sense the anguish in this wife's rant. Obviously she was looking forward to him coming home, yet this man's perceived selfishness did nothing to encourage the relationship, but caused his wife frustration and feelings of insignificance.
Stories like this abound, but it reminded me that it's not just other people that put their needs first, but that I'm just as guilty in more subtle ways.
For a marriage to thrive, both spouses must strive to put the other above his or her own wants. It's making sure that our partner feels both loved and respected even when it takes a little extra effort on our part, instead of just making up the rules as we go along that only serve us personally.
If the husband in the above situation would have sent his wife a text saying, "I love you, but had a rough day and could really use a few minutes alone to unwind" instead of the "I'm playing video games and I don't want to be bothered," text, she may have been more willing to give him the time he needed without feeling pushed aside and unloved.
What he was really conveying to her was that his needs were superior to hers. For arguments sake, perhaps he really did have a horrible day and wanted to be alone. The problem with that is marriage is a partnership, no longer two separate persons but one. Though there is nothing wrong with needing some time alone to regroup, the way he went about telling her was seemingly selfish and hard hearted.
The Bible gives us numerous commands about placing others first. A few of these are as follows:
"Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." Colossians 3:19
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord...and respect him." Ephesians 5:22 & 33b
"Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love....Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:13b - 15
So what are some ways we can put our spouse's needs first and show them that we care?
1. Leave love notes or send "thank you for..." texts often. These expressions of love and appreciation go a long way.
2. Build your spouse up not tear down. Ways to do that are to find something they are doing right and compliment them on it. Let them catch you "bragging" on them to others. Show them tenderness when they are upset or just need a listening ear.
3. Pray for your spouse daily. It seems simple, but prayer can move mountains. Pray about their frustrations, fears, and desires. Ask God to show you how to bless your spouse.
4. Find something your spouse enjoys doing and do it with them. If they like sports, take them to a game. If they like to fish (sigh), then go sit with them. If it's watching man movies, then suck it up and watch (note to self).
5. Buy them inexpensive little gifts to surprise them with, cook them a favorite meal, or simply spend time with them. Wives especially just love time spent with their husband. Speaking from experience, it doesn't have to be anything fancy or planned out, though those are wonderful, but an attentive husband goes a long way.
With that said, this day...this week...this new year, ask God to help you put your spouse's needs before your own and esteem and protect your marriage from selfishness. Believe me, God will bless and your marriage will thrive.
In His Service,