This is a valuable lesson in unselfishness. We, as Catholics, have incredible Sacramental helps to have a good marriage. We need to make having a successful marriage a priority in our lives, to grab a hold of these helps, to realize that Our Lord is the goal in every effort we make to be kind, generous, unselfish….. And that He is there to help in every way.
by Lisa Jacobson, Marriage Wisdom for Her
A Great Marriage
Great marriages go the distance because two people put distance between themselves and selfishness.
I can’t tell you the exact time or place that I made the decision. But I knew – from the bottom of my heart – that I wanted a great marriage from a surprisingly young age. Not great as in “grand” but great as in good. Strong, close, and even sweet; great as in long-lasting.
But it’s one thing to decide it. And another to live it. And it wasn’t too long into our marriage that I realized there was something standing in the way of our having that great marriage that I was so eager to enjoy.
We both sensed an invisible barrier keeping us from achieving an incredible relationship. Invisible, but powerful all the same. That barrier was selfishness. His selfishness, for sure. But mine too. Ouch.
I think recognizing my own selfishness in our relationship was ten times harder than seeing his. His self-centeredness was so obvious – the numerous ways he could put his own wants and needs before mine. But me? I feel like I’m a giver, pouring myself out constantly in a hundred different ways.
I cook, clean up after, and care for him, and the rest of my family too. I get up early and stay up late. And I’m always there for him. I don’t think that sounds very selfish . . . do you?
Except for one thing – some selfishness is less apparent than others. And I happen to be an expert in subtle selfishness. Maybe you are too.
Yes, perhaps we give, but is there a “price tag” that comes with that giving? We pour out . . . but not necessarily freely. Maybe even bitterly or greedily.
We want – even demand – certain things in return. But if giving comes with a price, then it isn’t really giving, is it? And it’s not a place in which a loving marriage can thrive.
Okay, but what about my husband? So what about him and his selfishness? It hardly seems fair that the wife should do all the giving. Don’t we deserve more than that?
The world has an answer for you. They’ll tell you that what you should do is look out for yourself more. That you should outpace him when it comes to the game of selfishness.
But the Bible has a different answer, and it’s going to sound counter-intuitive. “Take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
You will only find your life by focusing on living for Jesus – the One Who gave, and gave, and gave, and keeps giving His life for you, in spite of your disregard for Him.
It’s time to pause and to consider Him. His love for you, His forgiveness for you, His compassion for you…
Turning your heart to Jesus is the best way to find yourself and it’s the best hope for your marriage. It gives you the power to take down the walls that have built up between you and your husband, to speak the truth in love, and to offer a kind act in return for a selfish one.
Dear Lord, I do feel like I give a lot, but I know I am prone to selfishness. I pray You will remind me when those selfish impulses arise – especially when I’m making my husband feel as if I’m choosing for me and not for us.
I know You are not asking me to ignore my needs but to be on guard against my natural inclinations to look after myself first.
I desire to grow and mature in this. Help me to be selfless, just as You called me to walk. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Ask your husband: “What are some ways that I show selfishness in our marriage? Do you ever feel like you ‘pay a price’ for what I offer to you?”
“As a family, try to lead a hidden life with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Through holy Mass, offer yourselves through Mary’s hands as a sacrifice with Jesus; at Holy Communion, you will be changed into Jesus by divine grace so that you may live His life; by your visits to the tabernacle, you will enjoy His friendship in the midst of the many problems of life.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook (Photo from our daughter’s wedding)
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