A letter from one selfish bride to another
I’m starting to believe that there is nothing that shows off our self centeredness more than getting married.
Our first year of marriage was a whirlwind. Cal was working full time in an intense environment, while also studying for the CPA in (all) his spare time. I was going to grad school full time, working a part time internship, and two part time jobs. We joke that, even though we are technically entering into our second year of marriage, it really feels like the first. We have found such rest in the present. There are many reasons we feel like this, but one of them is the fact that I am finally admitting the fact that I am selfish.
My first instinct as a wife was to point out all the ways that Cal should be serving me. I am a verbal processor, and I love having everything out in the open. Assertiveness is a good thing, but sometimes it can become too much. I became nit picky.
Or maybe I had always been that way.
Picking and choosing your battles is an art, and I have struggled to learn it. It was hard for me to put down the tweezers meant to pick out the splinter in Cal’s eye, when the log in mine was so massive that I could barely see.
The point of this post is not to air out all of my dirty laundry. It’s certainly not to say that I am perfect now. But I am learning an important lesson in marriage or any relationship, really)- one too important to keep to myself.
Only when we see our own selfishness as the root problem in our marriage, it is only then that that relationship can truly thrive. We first must think “what can I do for him?” before we think “what can he do for me?”
I’m not talking just about marriage, although that is the current lens that I am studying myself with. Any relationship cannot be fully healthy when we are consistently focused on the other party.
I am a bride to Cal, but I am also part of the bride of Christ.
Marriage is a picture of what our relationship with Christ is, and if this is true, then I am also selfish in my role as His Bride. Sister, you may or may not be a bride yet to another man, but if you follow Christ, you are (also) His bride. And our role as His bride is to not ask what He can do for us, but what we can do for Him.
Selfishness is the core of our human nature. Thinking about self is not always a bad thing (i.e. as a means of protecting one's self in a threatening situation), but it quickly becomes dangerous when we are consistently thinking how to positions ourselves first before others.
What can I do to make others like me? How can I impress her today? If I do this for him, how will that affection be returned?
We so often do selfless things with selfish intent. We struggle to lay our crosses (that we ourselves are draped across) down.
We heap guilt after guilt upon ourselves, wondering why can’t I do the things I want to do, and why do I do the things that I don’t want to do? It’s a hard wrestling that we all struggle with on a daily basis. I truly believe that no one is immune. And I don’t know if we will ever fully get there on this side of heaven. But salvation is an ongoing process. Sanctification is real- it’s messy and dirty and it hurts a heck of a lot, but we are the Bride of Christ.
And He not only sees us as we are, but as we can be.
challenge yourself with the hard questions,
be honest in your growth,
know that you are not alone,
& let yourself rest in the unforced rhythms of grace.