Becoming a Selfless Spouse

smiling married couple
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I was exhausted and ready for bed, but my wife, Christi, was relentless. "Honey, I really want to go out to one nice dinner with you. Please, will you get dressed up?" she pleaded.

It was already 9:30 p.m., and I had just finished working one of the longest and hardest weeks of my life at a conference away from home. I was glad to have Christi with me, but I was reluctant to agree to her request.

Though I didn't want to go, I did it for Christi. I put her desires before my own. And the result was an unforgettable experience together. Our dinner that night was one of the most elegant meals we have ever had.

When the apostle Paul compares marriage to our relationship with Jesus (Ephesians 5:25-32), he wants us to understand that the principles that apply to Jesus' death and resurrection apply to our marriages, too. Jesus laid down His life so that we might experience the new life that comes from His resurrection. In the same way, God calls us to lay down our own lives, serving our spouse unconditionally. To experience life in our marriages, we must die to self. Here are two ways you can do that:

Step out of your comfort zone: Create memories together by doing things your spouse loves to do — even when it's an activity you don't enjoy. Don't concentrate on the activity itself; focus on the bond that grows out of sharing the experience with your spouse.

Honor and adore: Do one thing each day to show your spouse honor or adoration. Leave love notes. Speak highly of your spouse in front of others, especially your kids. Do one selfless act that will brighten your spouse's day.

Dying to self builds an environment of safety and love. When we die to self, we ultimately bring forth life in our marriage. It's the Resurrection in action.

Talk About It

  • What things have I done that make you feel loved and adored?
  • What is one thing you enjoy that you wish I would do with you?

 

 

For devotions to help make your faith — and your marriage — stronger each week of the year, see Jim and Jean Daly’s book  The Best Year of Your Marriage: 52 devotions to bring you closer.

 

This article first appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Focus on the Family's Thriving Family magazine.
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Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Joshua Straub. From the Focus on the Family website at FocusOnTheFamily.com.

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