Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
The second resolve to experience a regret-free marriage is this: “I will make my mate’s happiness a priority.”
There are many married couples who refuse to divorce, yet they have a miserable existence together. Very few marriages could be classified as truly happy. Why is that? In a word, it is selfishness. Whenever you have two people with two separate agendas trying to live under the same roof, sparks are going to fly. When two people are pulling against each other with their own agendas, you will have friction and tension.
James said it this way: “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” (James 4:1) Reduce every conflict between people down to its essence and the source is always the same–selfishness.
Think back to the last argument you had with your mate. Regardless of the subject matter, the spark that ignited the argument is selfishness. You wanted your way, and your mate wanted his or her way. Now, if most marriages are unhappy because of selfishness, then the answer to most unhappiness in marriage is placing your mate’s interest above your own interests. That is exactly what Paul said: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Now, if you are going to put the interests of your mate above your own, you need to know the interests of your mate. What does your mate like? What does your mate dislike? What is really important to him or her? Maybe your mate values spending thirty minutes together every evening just conversing. Maybe it is doing his or her favorite hobby together. Maybe it’s taking a walk after dinner. When you consistently place your mate’s interests above your own, you reduce conflict in marriage and live without marriage regrets.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Living without Marriage Regrets” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.