Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I am writing because I am confused about how I should live my life. I am a 25 year old African American male and I am finding it more and more difficult to live a life of unhappiness. I do not have any really good role models.
Recently, I got married and continue to struggle. I cannot figure out how I should be living my life. My wife is demanding and wants me to live for her. She always wants me to put her first. I strive to do this, but often neglect myself. I want to live for myself as well. We are both Christians, but are having significant bonding problems because I cannot figure out how to live my life. I worship God and try to live for Him as well. Who Should I Live My Life For So that I Can Achieve Marital Happiness?
Living Life…Thanks, Doc
Dear Living Life,
I thank you for seeking guidance because everyone deserves to be happy in love and life. Your question is very profound because the manner in which you live your life will determine your happiness. You presented three ways that someone can live their life. First, you mentioned that you live for your wife. Second, you mentioned that you have a desire to live for yourself. Finally, you mentioned that you try to live for God.
Based on my professional experience as a psychotherapist and personal experience as a husband and Christian, I believe that the best way to live life is for God. I say this because living for God helps put and keep things in perspective about life and love. I have provided therapy to thousands of individuals because they enter into marriage and believe that their personal needs are more important than their significant other’s needs. This causes individuals to lose focus of what marriage is all about – becoming and working as one flesh.
Becoming one flesh, which is at the heart of what marriage is, is a union that God himself performs. If you believe that God created man and woman to live as one flesh in marriage then you must believe that God must be at the center of your marriage. Given this, I believe that living for God will help you achieve marital happiness.
Living for God does not mean that you should neglect your husbandly duties or your own desires. In fact, living for God provides clarity and guidance about how to do the latter two things in a healthy and God driven manner. Colossians 1:27 reminds us that we are no longer alone because Christ lives in us. He is our power for living and our hope for the future. Furthermore, Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
It is not my intent to come across as being preachy. I just believe that a man’s role in marriage is to lead his wife and live in peace. I also believe that living for God is the only way that one can achieve these goals. During times of confusion, strive to fill your thoughts with God’s desires. Adopt his character for your pattern and obey him. If you do these things and teach your wife to do the same, you will come closer to achieving your goal of marital happiness.
Remember that God created your wife so that you can honor her and enjoy companionship, not to worship her. Live for God and continue to take advantage of the many resources that he has put before you. If you need help living for God, please seek spiritual and psychological counseling so that you can develop the appropriate skills.
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.