I immediately knew Creating A Selfless Marriage was my topic when my mom asked me about writing a blog about CounterCulture Women in regards to marriage. The fact is that our culture’s focus is on “what can I get out of it”. We live in a self-centered culture that expects everyone to only be looking out for you.
A selfless marriage is biblical and fulfills our call to be the living sacrifice.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Not only is that mindset the complete opposite of the way Christ has called us to live our lives, but it can also be the kiss of death in a marriage. If you are always looking out for number one, then how is that marriage going to survive? On the other hand, a marriage where both partners equally attempt to meet each other’s needs will not only survive but also flourish.
A Family Therapy Approach to a Selfless Marriage
Even though I didn’t know it at the time, the theory that I was taught in graduate school really does a great job of detailing how each person’s interactions equally influence the other person’s behavior, which sets the tone for the marriage. In my intro to Family Therapy textbook, it states that: “A and B exist in the context of a relationship in which each influences the other and both are equally cause and effect of each other’s behavior”.
Go back and read that sentence again and maybe even again. It took me several times of reading this to understand the power of what it is saying. Another way that I have heard it explained is that one person in a relationship cannot change and the other person stay the same.
Wow! Isn’t that powerful. At times, we feel stuck in our marriages, but I am here to tell you that you have the power to change it.
How To Create A Selfless Marriage
I have three suggestions to create a selfless marriage which ultimately is a happier, thriving, healthy marriage:
- Start with one thing.
We all have at least one thing that annoys us when our husbands do not do it. There are also some things that we do for our husbands that make them happy. Figure out what that is for your husband and make sure to do it. It can be cleaning the dishes out of the sink, rubbing his back, taking the overflowing trash out, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is just make sure it is something they will notice and appreciate.
- Don’t expect anything in return.
This is not always easy, but remember this can change your marriage. They might not notice it at first or they might notice it but not say anything. Again though, each individual influences the other, so these acts are powerful even if they aren’t recognized.
- Be patient and persistent.
This will not change a marriage struggling for a long time over night. This is a process. As you continue to show selflessness, your spouse will also begin to engage in some selfless acts as well. Don’t stop at one thing either. As you get the hang of one thing, add another. This has the power to add some air to a dying marriage.
What I’m Not Saying
Many women are givers to a fault and rarely take for themselves. My intention is not to tell you to keep giving and never receive or that the state of your marriage rests solely on your shoulders. Each individual in a relationship is equally responsible for the state of the marriage. I also want to add that for marriages that have some serious issues, such as domestic violence, infidelity, and etc., simply doing the above suggestions will not change it. That requires harder work, and it would be best to be guided by a licensed counselor. The payoff will be worth it!
I hope you have been empowered today to know that you have power in your marriage, and a thriving, selfless marriage is possible.
Taylor Draughn, M.A., LPC, LMFT
If you missed Week 1 of CounterCulture Women about Loving Our Husband By Respecting Our Husband, here is the video and audio recording.