This is number 12 in a weekly series I began on December 21st/13 with a post called, “Married Forever?
Self-centredness will destroy your marriage! Does that surprise you? If it does you're in more trouble than you imagined. A self-centred spouse will always trigger resentment in the other spouse. What I mean is, the self-centred behaviours of one spouse will ultimately trigger self-centred behaviours in the other spouse. Self-centred is who we are – Unless we allow Jesus to change us.
The problem of course is that a self-centred character is blind to its own existence. What's more, our self-centred character is almost allergic to the same characteristic in others, especially one's partner. Our corrupt self-love triggers thoughts like, 'Why weren't you thinking about me? You should have been thinking about what I want. How could you not be thinking about me?'
Only an obedient relationship with Jesus can create an other-centred focus that destroys self-pity.
The Holy Spirit Who displays a giving and serving character will bring about this type of maturity in you. Jesus' Spirit destroys pride and brings about a humility that exudes generosity and deals with the selfishness of others in a mature fashion. The Holy Spirit does not keep score. As seen by the reaction of the world to the mere word “submission,” it's easy to see that without the indwelling of the Spirit, submission is impossible.
If your only source of love is from other people, what happens when those people fail to love you? As the saying goes, “To what will you look to for help if not to that which is stronger than yourself?” The love that we need to give away in order to maintain and grow a healthy marriage must come from a source greater than ourselves.
Here is a reality of life, You will not, and cannot find happiness until you've placed your own happiness in submission to that of someone else. Not just for today but as part of a commitment, a life-long commitment to putting the well-being of at least one other person (hopefully that of your spouse) ahead of your own.
Christian maturity does this, not in order to get in return, but simply to give. Freely we have received. Freely we are to give. This type of obedience to Jesus, because of what He has done for you, cannot fail to provide peace and contentment.
More on this next Friday.