Selfishness, It has No Place in a Happy Marriage
One of the worst enemies in marriage is selfishness. Selfishness has no place in a happy marriage. Relationships are hard when we put our selfish desires and needs before our spouse. While it is okay to be selfish to some degree, you cannot let your selfishness take over the marriage. When you get marriage, you should focus on how to help your marriage be successful by sacrificing things. You and your spouse both need to focus on the positive aspects of your marriage instead of the negative aspects and work on your communication skills. Focusing on the negative aspects of a marriage will only hurt your relationship and can cause you and your spouse to grow apart.
When a person is selfish, they are only caring about their own need needs, wants, and desires. The person is focused on self-giving and is only concerned about himself or herself. Selfishness in marriage can cause significant pain for the spouse and is the brunt of marital anger and conflict. Infidelity and divorce normally come as a result of selfishness. Selfish spouses treat their spouses as objects, rather than as people. Selfishness is the result of several sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and other sexual problems. People that allow their own selfish desires to overtake them are usually at a greater risk for infidelity, they have short relationships, they are dishonest, and they are controlling or violent toward their spouse. If they have children, they are normally permissive to their children, teaching their children to become selfish and disrespectful.
Selfishness in marriage can lead to several things including:
- Sadness and depression due to an inability to maintain healthy relationships.
- Poor marital communication and friendship.
- Emotional harm to their spouse and children.
- Substance abuse, pornography, and infidelity.
- Inability to trust others.
- Unstable self-esteem.
- Lack of faith.
- Lack of respect for their spouse.
- Anxiety due to mistrust in the marriage.
- Weakness in expressing love for their children and spouse.
- Overreactions to situations, often resulting in anger and violence.
- Weak leadership skills and immature behaviors like temper-tantrums.
- Permissive parenting.
- Alienation from their spouse and children.
- Withholding children from seeing their grandparents and other family relatives.
Selfishness can be brought on by several things. Often young couples experience some degree of selfishness in the first year of marriage as they are learning to adapt to one another. Couples that bring a child into the marriage can experience selfishness because the child requires a lot of attention. They often feel that they are not getting anything in return and they can quickly resent their spouse and their child. If you or your spouse is becoming selfish in the marriage, it is important to seek help before it becomes worse or too late.
It can take some people a long time to determine that selfishness is a part of their marriage. They can see other conflicts emerge before they can determine that selfishness is the problem. Some people can identify selfishness when they evaluate their marital problems with their spouse, friends, and marital counselors. Selfishness often causes anger in the marriage and the spouse feels resentment toward their best friend because they did not fix their behaviors earlier. The only way to fix selfishness is through forgiveness. The selfish spouse must ask for forgiveness from their spouse and children. They must seek forgiveness from other family members that have been impacted by their behaviors. Most importantly, they need to forgive himself or herself. When someone recognizes that they have been selfish, they often become depressed about the way they have been acting toward other people.
The other spouse must not feel anger or resentment toward their in-laws, which may have supported the behaviors of their spouse. Both spouses must learn how to communicate with one another and create an equal partnership. Once the problems have been laid out, forgiveness must take place in order for the marriage to move forward. The couple must communicate that selfishness is a problem in the marriage and they need to find ways to serve one another. For many couples, marriage counseling is the only way to uncover the problems in the relationship. Marriage counseling can help the couple discuss their problems and work on fixing them as a team, not as individuals. Both spouses will be encouraged to help one another. The couple will learn how to quickly recognize selfishness and find ways to address it before it becomes a larger problem.
If your spouse is unable to recognize their selfishness, you need to seek the advice of a marriage counselor. When someone is told they are selfish, feelings of anger and resentment quickly emerge. Everyone has difficulty facing their problems and their weakness and it is hard to have it pointed out by someone they love. You need to be polite, yet firm in your requests to have your spouse change their behaviors. You can make a deal with your spouse to work on things that your spouse would like you to change in yourself. In return, your spouse will work on their selfishness.
One of the hardest things for the other spouse to do is stand firm against their spouse and avoid being controlled by the selfish spouse. Having courage and trust in yourself is the only way to stand firm against the behaviors of the selfish spouse. Ask your spouse to have a long discussion with you about the consequences of their selfishness. Tell them that they need to change their behaviors if they expect to receive trust from you. You must in turn motivate them to change and encourage them to be a better person. Don't just point out their selfishness, but point out the good qualities that they possess.
Each day, remind yourself of the things you love about your spouse. Try to understand why your spouse became selfish and look for ways to forgive them. Holding a grudge against your spouse will only cause further destruction in your marriage and will keep your spouse from moving forward to let go of their selfish desires. Be strong in your ability to teach your children to be self-less individuals. Teach them how to grow and look for the good in themselves so they can have a good marriage. You and your spouse must set good examples for the children and show your children that you still love one another despite your differences.
Marriage counseling or help from a licensed mental health professional can help your spouse recognize their selfishness and they can help you recognize your selfishness. They can teach the couple how to understand one another and help them make steps toward forgiving each other. Selfishness is a character weakness and it can be changed with the right treatment program.
If you or your spouse is encouraged to remain set in their selfish ways due to friends or family members, limit your contact with them. Some people will not change their selfish ways without some type of major change in the marriage. If your spouse still does not want to work on changing their ways, suggest a temporary separation. Often people will change their ways when they know that their spouse is serious about divorcing them. A marriage in this state will need intensive work from the couple.
Anyone being abusive needs to be confronted by their spouse and other people. Law enforcement and lawyers may need to be involved if the spouse is mentally or physically abusive. Generally, these people are unwilling to change their selfish desires and their spouse is far better off without them.
Even though it may be difficult, it is possible to overcome personality weaknesses like selfishness. Through the help of marriage counselors and patience, anyone can overcome their selfish personality. Harvard Medical School did a study on selfish spouses and placed them into mental health treatment programs. They concluded that 60% of their subjects were able to change their selfish personalities.
Selfishness can be overcome with the forgiveness and faith in you or your spouse. The world we live in teaches people to be selfish. It tells people to think about themselves and their own desires. Selfish individuals often like to be in control and they will have difficulty changing their behaviors. It will not be easy on the marriage and it is often only changed by the threat of divorce or separation. People become selfish when they feel a lack of respect from their spouse and the communication in the marriage breaks down.
A daily commitment to change your selfish desires and make your life easier for your loved ones will help you become a better person. You must change your thinking patterns and place the needs of your loved ones before your own. Implementing kindness, respect, forgiveness, generosity, courtesy, self-restraint, and responsibility into your daily life can help you overcome your selfish ways. Having faith in yourself and in your spouse will help you develop meekness and help you become humble. Put your marriage first in your life before all your selfish desires and you will learn to be a better spouse and parent.