Dr. Buckingham, I am having a hard time in my marriage because my husband believes that I am too self-centered. I grew up with three older brothers and spent most of my life having them do everything for me. When I met my husband 8 years ago, I was used to being taken care of. He knew that I could be a little self-centered when he married me. Now he wants me to change and be more selfless. I am not used to putting others first and as a result, I really do not fully understand the concept of being selfless. My question to you is why does it matter whether I am selfless or not? Can Being Selfless Enhance My Marriage?
Thanks in advance,
Dear Mrs. Self-centered,
Yes, being selfless can enhance your marriage and make you a better wife. When you put the good of your marriage above your own self-centered needs, love, trust, and vulnerability flourish. These factors are key to building a marriage that will endure over the test of time. If your husband believes that you have his best interest at hand, he will do what is needed to meet your needs. I often remind individuals that the key to getting their personal needs met in a relationship is to think about how they can serve their significant other.
Some people believe that being selfless is a mindset. I partially agree. Being selfless is a mindset and is also behavioral. You can work on being more selfless by surrounding yourself with people who behave in a selfless manner. Also, try doing little favors for your husband and assess how you feel. If you can put yourself aside, eventually you’ll feel good about your decision to serve your husband.
As you strive to become more selfless, please remember to use a balanced approach between self-centeredness and selflessness. Taking care of yourself is not a bad thing; just make time to fulfill your marital obligation. By being considerate of your husband and making him feel that his needs are just as important as yours, it’ll bring peacefulness into your marriage.
Believe it or not, being selfless toward your husband is a blessing to him and you. Your happiness in marriage is partially based on your ability to create a win-win situation. Also, keep in mind that God commands us to serve others. Philippians 2:4 tells us to “look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others.”
I believe that married individuals should always be looking at ways in which we can put what we enjoy into action even if it is not something we enjoy so much or even at all. We also need to serve our spouses with joy and a willing heart. Your marriage will be enhanced not by your personal fulfillment, but by your willingness to grow with your husband as one.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.