Monday, August 29, 2016

Messy Marriage Mondays: From Selfishness to Selflessness

{Elissa Ewald Photography}

"The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view? In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator. " - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage

Selfishness. Oftentimes, we have picturesque ideals about how marriage "should be." These ideals are often influenced by marriages we've seen up close and personal or even in the media. We have ideas and expectations, and when these expectations are unmet, we find ourselves disappointed. In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas wisely states that marriage is not intended to make us happy. Instead, he proposes, marriage is intended to make us holy. It is the single most sanctifying tool that God will use in our lives, because without it, there are issues which we might not ever face, and flaws we might not ever recognize within ourselves. When living with someone 24/7/365, we are all up in each other's business. All. the. time. It can be super duper fun, because who doesn't want to live with their BFF? But it can also be vulnerable, scary, and exposing.

"Contempt is conceived with expectations. Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude. We can choose which one we will obsess over—expectations, or thanksgivings." - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage

When I set my sights on what makes me happy and the myriad ways I want expect Rory to serve me, then I end up empty. I am constantly on the search for happiness and joy outside of myself. I am looking to him to fulfill my needs and am selfishly hoping that he might not notice if I don't seek to serve him instead. 

But the flip side is that when I seek selflessness, my sights are on how to honor him. When I look to him as my best friend and confidant instead of my savior and fulfiller of every need, the pressure is off. My selfishness likes to rear its ugly head in so many ways- I want to eat what I want to eat. I want to go where I want to go. I want to buy what I want to buy. In short, I want it to be Planet Jessica. 

The word of God is clear on this, friends. In Romans 12:10, Paul writes,  "Outdo one another in showing honor. " That doesn't mean that you make service a competition, but rather that you approach each day looking to how to humbly serve your spouse instead of searching for opportunities for him or her to do something on your behalf. 

How can you pull the weeds of selfishness in order to sow seeds of selflessness? How can this bring joy and life to your marriage?

Don't miss any part of this series!

Messy Marriage Mondays
Pulling Weeds
Sowing Seeds


  1. Jessica, Good morning from a friend from Mexico. You are such an encouragement to me.
    Keep sharing the JOY of Jesus.

    1. Thank you for reading and for your words of encouragement, Olivia!



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