Hey y’all!! I’m finally back after a hiatus that seemed never-ending, thanks to some good-ol’ technical difficulties. I tell ya, I’m a little ashamed to call myself a millennial because I legit hate technology. I lose my patience so quickly, and I have a tendency to royally mess things up with no effort whatsoever. It’s really a skill; one that my husband bemoans on a regular basis. Anywho, in my absence some things have gone down. My three-almost-four-year-old finally potty trained, and I cannot tell you how good it feels to not have to buy an extra pack of diapers every week knowing they won’t do any good, because #blowouts. It feels like we got a sort-of raise now that we are only buying two packs of diapers instead of three. And this spring I’m determined to get Little Miss Middle out of Pampers and into panties. It’s going to happen. Also, my husband and I have started planning our anniversary trip in April. We will have been married for five years, but to be honest it feels more like 15. There have been so many major life changes, ups and downs, and in betweens that sometimes we look at each other and wonder how we aren’t dead already. He made the comment recently that it’s probably a good thing that we had our children as young as we did or we would die of exhaustion trying to keep up! And he’s right. It’s exhausting. It’s challenging. And if you’re not careful it can be a killer. A marriage-killer.
I have come across several articles in recent weeks about young families and the toll it takes on our marriages. Every word skipped right into my soul and planted seeds of hope that one day the dust will settle, things will slow down (maybe), and you’ll remember what it was all for. But in the meantime there are the frazzled days, sleepless nights, and sharp words spoken in haste to get moving onto the next thing. We all do this. We all have these seasons. And it’s so important to remember that you’re not alone! Other families are trudging through these trenches too. Find them. Find your people! (You’re probably thinking, really? She’s obsessed with her people. Yes, I am! They give me life!) Confess the hardships and heartaches with them. But most importantly, confess them to your spouse. Vulnerability begets intimacy. And this is KEY for your marriage.
Now, why am I writing a blog post about selfishness? Because I’m freaking selfish, and I need to preach to myself for a minute, okay? And I figured you probably needed to read what I have to say, too. So, shall we dive in to some hard truths? Awesome!!
The word selfish is defined as “being excessively or exclusively concerned with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others”. Now, many of us are not this way all the time, but I’ve caught myself being really concerned about my own wants and desires over those of my spouse a few too many times recently. And I can assure you he would say the same. And I’ve found that when I am being overly selfish and discontent, I’m not the nicest person to be around. I’m moody, short-tempered, and pretty unpleasant in general. Have you ever been around someone like this? It’s no fun, and usually you’re looking for the quickest way out! I know I do. And lately, I’ve wanted to get away from myself. How sad. This about the time that I start looking at my circumstances, evaluate my attitude, ask for forgiveness, and break out the gratitude journal- but we will come back to that later.
Marriage has a couple of definitions, one being that it is a binding legal contract between two persons, but my favorite is that it is a “intimate union”. Now, remember what I said about wanting to get away from selfish, moody people? Hmmm. These two definitions just can’t coexist. At the risk of sounding cheesy, there is no “I” in team. Marriage means you’re on a team that needs you. Your teammate relies on you to make choices and act in a way that benefits the unit! When you act selfishly, you not only violate the trust of your teammate, but you could very well compromise the outcome of the game. (That’s the end of my sports analogy, promise).
Marriage is such a treasure, you guys! What I so often fail to realize is that my selfishness affects not just my attitude, but my sweet husband’s as well. It torments our unity. It compromises our intimacy. And it puts the whole operation of marriage on pause. This is not only true for just your spouse, but your children too- if you have them. Kids know when there is division in the home. If that’s news to you, I’m glad you are here! To use another cliche “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”, selfishness sets a negative tone for the entire household. So next time you get to thinking, “I want this/that… I don’t have enough… I’m tired of…My spouse never/always does…” remember that what your thoughts become actions pretty quickly, and so take a second to ask God to give you a word, a thought, a verse, something to redirect your thoughts! Paul calls that taking our thoughts captive and calling them into obedience with Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). How many of us need to do that more often?! Yes! Me too!
If you’re battling a selfish spirit today, I encourage you to just send a text to your spouse telling them how much you appreciate them. Even if you don’t feel appreciative, even if you still think you should be getting more than you are, feeling more fulfilled than you are, or whatever, it doesn’t take 30 seconds to think of one thing your spouse has done right in the last week. Really. It could just change the mood of the day. And one day at a time is what it takes…
Y’all, I’ve got two babies that are crying in their cribs. I’ve been ignoring them for like ten minutes because I just had to get this out to you! It’s too important to walk away from. In Part II, and maybe III depending on how long-winded I get, I’ll be talking more about ways that we can practice putting selfishness aside for the sake of our marriage. I hope you’ll join me there!!