THINK MORE ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE THAN YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF
By Victor Uyanwanne
On my fourth wedding anniversary recently, while doing an online search on WordPress, I was fortunate to stumble on a Seth Adam Smith’s article, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”
On the surface, the title of the article appeared to me to be somewhat discouraging marriage. And to be honest, at first I found that very unacceptable because I have always looked forward to being married; I got married and established my belief that marriage is for me. So you can imagine how infuriated I felt when I first saw the audacious title, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”
“How could he say that?” I queried into an empty air. Anyway, out of sheer curiosity, I proceeded to read the article. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that there was more to the article than its title seemed to portray. I came to realise that the article didn’t say one should not get married, neither did it say that one made a mistake by getting married. But it succinctly embodied the principle, amongst others, that married people should think of their spouses and their needs more than they think of themselves.
Furthermore, I came to realise that I totally agree with Seth on the ideas he pushed forward in the article. “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy…,” he opined. Even though he credited his father with it, the wisdom he expressed in the statement appeared simple in nature, yet very profound: “… Love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.”
I believe the assertion is in line with what Apostle Paul told the Philippians several centuries ago: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3, NIV). For our purpose here, we can paraphrase this to say, “Spouse, don’t be selfish towards your partner. Be humble; ascribe more value to your spouse than you ascribe to yourself”.
Therefore, in saying “marriage isn’t for you”, I came to the understanding that Seth meant that “Marriage is about the person you married,” not necessarily about you.
In Seth’s own words:
.… A true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”” “And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered” (Emphasis mine).
In the final analysis, it became more obvious that in marriage relationships:
• We should think more about our spouses than we expect them to think about us.
• We should give to our spouses more than we expect them to give us.
• We should love our spouses more than we expect them to love us.
• We should give more honour to our spouses than we expect them to give to us.
• We should forgive and tolerate the bahaviour of our spouses more than we expect them to do for us;
• If we don’t like it when our spouses annoy us, why do we not care a hoot when we annoy them?
I am convinced that if we sow happiness in our spouses, the fruit will show up in our own lives.