You know, sometimes there are things that people want me to write about that seem so basic to me that I think “Wow people have GOT to already know that! ” It feels like that is such a beginning foundational truth that surely people know that already! Yet more and more I’m coming to realize that people do not live with examples of lifelong faithfulness anymore and do not see mature, healthy, Christ-like relationships modeled…so we don’t know what to do! Like so many things in our U.S. culture, we have things exactly backwards, and when we look at things like keeping our marriages affair-free from a backwards viewpoint…well we get confused! Prior to this I wrote a couple articles about some topics that we look at exactly backwards: “Crossing the Line” is about how we usually ask if sexting is an affair since it wasn’t physical and we want to know just where the line is so we can go right up to the line but not cross it–and instead we should find out where that line is so we can stay as far away from it as possible! “Sex and Marriage…Marriage and Sex” is about how we tend of think of sex from the point of view of getting our own need met and our own horniness rather than seeing that sex is about thinking about our spouse and what THEY need physically and meeting that need. And finally “Fidelity is not asking’ How Far Can I go?‘ ” is about how we, here in the U.S.A., think infidelity and cheating are wrong, but then want to do everything we can get away with…rather than looking at how to be 100% FAITHFUL in our marriages, or asking “What is fidelity?” and how we can act that way.
Selfishness is another one of those topics that we get exactly backwards.
In our advertising, our movies, our books…everything tells young people today that focusing on yourself is the way to be happy. Love yourself! You are entitled to high self-esteem (even if you’ve been a complete jerk!). You deserve better! When you’re in-love, the person you’re “in love with” completes you and meets your needs (flawlessly and naturally, without effort). If it feels good, do it. If you’re unhappy, leave–it’s your spouse’s fault because they “made” you unhappy. Some of the New Age gurus even go so far as to say that each individual is a small bit or spark of God!! If you look in the dictionary, the word “selfish” is defined as:
1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only foroneself:
3. self-interested, self-seeking, egoistic; illiberal, parsimonious,stingy.
Yet I Corinthians 13: 5 tells us the exact opposite… that “[Love] does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs.” This means that to keep your marriage affair-free, the focus needs to shift from “me, me, Me, Me, ME!” to being devoted to and caring for another human being–namely our spouse! Our primary (first and foremost) concern would be the interests, benefits, and welfare of someone other than ourselves–and that would be the interests of our spouse, the benefit of our spouse, and the welfare of our spouse (because doing so is what God told us to do, and even before our spouse we want to do what pleases God!). It means we REGARD others and think of how what we do and say will affect them. It means that our actions would be characterized by and manifest concern or care for our spouse!
Can you imagine the impact to marriages if people were taught that before they got married? Can you imagine how that would put a hedge of protection against infidelity if you thought about how “chatting and”texting” or “going to lunch with that person from work” would affect your spouse? How affair-free would your marriage be if your actions were characterized by care for your spouse? WOW! Just wow. We have the whole selfishness thing exactly backwards.
- A Realistic View on Marriage. (covenantfamilyaffairs.wordpress.com)
- 10 Tips to Help Protect Your Marriage Against Adultery / Extramarital Affairs – (tip #2) (unwalled.wordpress.com)
- oops…I think my selfLESSness caused my SELFISHness (persuaded2go.wordpress.com)
- The Trap of Selfishness (sweetsirensofmudhock.wordpress.com)