Martin Luther said that God established three essential institutions: marriage, the ministry of the Word, and the state. Luther went on to say that "both in chronological order and in significance, the home precedes both the ministry of the Word of God and the state." And yet, many people today try to demote marriage to a human invention. But the Scripture tells us that marriage was created by God.
Let's take a moment to look at the components of a stable, healthy marriage. Imagine your marriage as a three-legged stool, and the three legs are selflessness, forgiveness, and communication. Without one of the legs, the stool will fall down. A good marriage needs all three components to be well-balanced and strong. Today we will look at the first leg—selflessness.
We live in a self-centered world, and this focus on self is destroying marriages.
We live in a self-centered world, and this focus on self is destroying marriages. The concept of "looking out for number one" is creating divisions between husband and wife. But Paul tells us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).
Immaturity and selfishness tell us to focus on our own desires, comfort, and self-protection, but maturity leads us to focus on our spouse's needs. Maturity is a key to selflessness.
Selfless love manifests itself in graciousness. It focuses on the other person's thoughts, feelings, and needs. A selfless love makes sacrifices without keeping a running tally of who has contributed the most in the marriage. It puts aside selfish stubbornness for a willingness to yield to each other.
While selflessness goes against many of the world's teachings about personal ambition, self-importance, and self-protection, selfless love is a critical component to a healthy marriage.
Prayer: Father, help me to be mature in my marriage, exhibiting selfless love toward my spouse each and every day. Help me put the needs, feelings, and thoughts of my spouse above my own. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:3-4).