By Pastor Okokon Ating
When one looks at the act of selfishness, it is very easy to discover two important offsprings it could bear in marriage. They are: Low self esteem and Egotism. Without re-straint, these products can put up a serious threat to marriage.
This is because the couple with low self-esteem may like to app-roach their marriage on the basis of what each of them regards as important rather than on what both of them want from the marriage. Meanwhile, the spouse whose partner is an egoist may put up with fears and lack of trust in the other. Egotist ends up trusting himself or herself.
When negative attitude and mind-set are evident in marriage, what do you think the end of such marriage will be?
Marriage was not meant for a conservator who sees his\her partner as someone else and not as his or her own flesh, as the bible says. As we enter into marriage, we must utmost care, lest self-ishness in one, overshadows the unity and progress of marriage. Selfishness creat-es the forum of complaints between a couple and when this is done, each will say “be on your own let me be on my own.”
I know selfishness in ma-rriage can be subdued, at least, to the barest mini-mum, if not completely overcome. But this can only be done when couples allow the genuine love of God in their hearts for their part-ners supercede the love they have for themselves.
Of course, this love of God in them will be as a result of their total yielding and surrendering to God. Then, what they do will not be done by them but by the spirit of God that dwells in them, who covers their marriage as they keep abiding in Christ—who is the Head of every godly marriage.
The tendency of practic-ing generous service to others may help to curb the ‘selfish spirit’ in the life of anyone who has it. I noted earlier on this subject, that selfish people are stingy in nature, they find it difficult to give either to their fellow human beings or God. Therefore, any partner in marriage who finds him-\herself in this corridor should strive to hop out by learning to be generous. It could be by cash or by mat-erial gifts, or intangible gifts.
Let them also give to God through their church or to voluntary work of charity. As couple, we should learn to give to each other without minding who owns the mo-ney, the belongings, etc. As husband and wife, we should learn to see each other as an object of invest-ment. That is, as one is giving to the other, they are invest-ing within and to them-selves.
Let the couple learn to express their love on a daily basis to one another, knowing that such love deals with sharing the fre-quent practices of this will one day become part of them and as a result, will turn them to givers and not receivers alone.
The challenge of selfish-ness is very hidden, in that it is not commonly seen ex-cept when one goes closer to the selfish person. Since this matter involves the husband\wife within the circle of marriage, anyone closer to a couple who live such life can begin to pract-ice kindness and cultivate the habit of giving on a daily basis as led by the spirit of God. The frequent practice of this will eventually dev-elop in the person’s life style.
This reminds me of one character I intentionally developed. At the initial stage of my ministry, I did not know how to respond to people’s greetings by saying “God bless you” until a certain time; I said to myself that I am supposed to bless anybody who greets me. Gradually I started res-ponding to every greeting with the phrase: ‘God bless you” before I greet in return.
Today, it has become a habit in me to respond to everyone with such phrase. Look at that, I confidently believe that if a selfish man or woman decides to learn the habit of giving from time to time, sooner or later, it will become part of them in life. This could bring a long-lasting peace, unity and harmony between the couples. It could also build trust and confidence in each other’s life.
I overheard a woman say-ing that her husband will never offer her a kobo at home even if she begs him, I then asked her, why is it so with her husband? The wo-man found life unbearable with this man and at the end that marriage became halt-ed. The woman lamented that she needs a man who is generous in nature, no ma-tter how small the gift may be.
She also said, ‘pastor, I do not want my husband to keep giving me cash alone but also to be kind to me and his children’.
According to that state-ment, selfishness does not only entails refusing to give someone cash only, it applies to every area of one’s living. Once a person is selfish in a particular area of his life, it is bound to spread to other areas of his life. The person who is selfish in cash will also be selfish in kind.
Proverbs 11:25 says: “A generous man will prosper; He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (NIV). “A generous person will be enriched, And one who gives water will get water.” (RSV)
The act of giving to your spouse brings richness or favour. It breeds long lasting peace and gladness of heart, both to the giver and the receiver.