I enjoyed this guy’s article, with a heavy bent on faith, Are You Married to a Selfish Spouse?
He tells the story of a woman with a selfish husband, a woman who has prayed and sought counseling. He makes an excellent distinction by pointing out that he is speaking of how to maintain a Godly attitude in the midst of a situation that does not change. He is speaking of her spiritual attitude, not of resolving the situation.
I think that is so important. In the Western world we like quick solutions, just fix it! There’s another way of perceiving things however, that we can survive and even thrive in less than ideal circumstances. That one need not wait for resolution or circumstances to right themselves before applying fixes to one’s own life.
I really like what he says here, “Victoria,” I said, “you need to start thinking of yourself as the postal worker, not the store. You see all this good stuff that you do for your husband coming from you, but in reality, it’s coming from God. Your graceful attitude, your servant’s heart, your inspiration and motivation are all evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. At root, though, you’re just the postal worker delivering God’s package to your husband”
He goes on to say, “Second,” I said, “and here’s the hope—if God is the owner of the store, and we’re just the postal workers, God can use any number of postal workers to deliver what we need. You’re acting like what you need can only come from your spouse, and since he refuses to deliver it, you’re stuck. With some things, that’s true. There are certain things only a spouse can provide. But God can deliver a fulfilling, meaningful life through any number of channels.
I really liked that analogy. All in good fun here, but it puts a whole new spin on the idea of “going postal.”
Woven into those two ideas are some real nuggets of wisdom, some little treasures worth hanging onto. First off, make Christ the center of your marriage, make your relationship with Him your first priority. I sometimes say, we seek God’s favor first, not the favor of people. Having a good spiritual attitude is about serving Christ and not contingent on your spouse’s approval or appreciation. That’s nice to have for sure, but love really is like just delivering the mail, it is like being a conduit. Sometimes love falls on un-fertile ground and sometimes the birds eat it up, but we are only the messenger, the sower.
Don’t take anything personally, once you’ve done your job, it’s not about you anymore. Wives tend to personalize everything, he hasn’t done this thing because he hates me. If he loved me, he would…. Detachment from personalizing offense can be really helpful.
Second of all, invest in yourself. Recharge your own batteries. When you have a selfish spouse, they are not investing in you and you must compensate. You must allow God to show you what your emotional needs are and how to go about meeting them for yourself. There are many healthy ways to do this. Taking up running, joining a class, spending time nurturing yourself.
This particular article mentioned buying yourself flowers, with the added idea of being grateful to your spouse for providing you the means to have fresh flowers. True, he did not surprise you with them himself, but immerse yourself in gratitude anyway. That is a trick I have often used and it works wonders.
I am chuckling here, but I have even been seduced by some flowers in the grocery store, purchased them, brought them home and said, “thank you so much for the flowers. You are the best husband ever. ” What makes me laugh is that not only do I genuinely feel as if I have received this thoughtful gift from him, hubby just beams and feels as if he has actually given them to me.