Last night began our 6 week study of the book Story of Marriage by John & Lisa Bevere. A group of women married 3 years to 30 years. We were discussing the chapter, what we liked, what stuck out to us when a little tidbit of truth revealed itself… When we give to others, when we live selflessly, it feels good, right? We’ve all heard it’s better to give than to receive. And you’ve probably experienced that feeling of joy when you’re able to help someone and give of yourself. But there’s a double bonus here. When you give to others, they want to give back to you. The selflessness we exhibit is attractive. It draws people to us. They want to be generous with us and invest in us.
“Selflessness is attractive”
This works wonders in a marriage. If I’m pulling on my husband all the time, drawing on him, thinking only of my needs it 1) drains him and 2) makes him resent me. He starts thinking, “What about my needs, and what I want?” Or he thinks, “All she does is nag me all the time!” But if I’m giving of myself, being selfless, focusing on Josh’s needs instead of just my own, he totally recognizes it. It softens his heart towards me, and he wants to give back to me. He starts thinking “What can I do for Lisa?”
You can have a marriage with two people both thinking of themselves and pulling on each other.
Picture: Tug-of-war. Nobody wins. Both parties usually end up in the mud.
You can have a marriage with two people living selflessly, constantly giving to each other.
Picture: A cycle (I give. Then, you give. So, I want to give, so you want to give…) Everybody wins.
In the first scenario no one’s happy, and no one’s getting what they want. Stalemate.
In the second scenario both people are happy and both are getting what they want. It just takes one person to make the first move.
Conclusion: When you think only of your own needs, they don’t get met.
When you put your spouse’s needs first, YOUR needs are met.
So why aren’t we generous, selfless people all the time? It goes against human nature – look out for number one. We can try and override that, and do a halfway decent job. But there’s a better way than striving to do it on our own. It’s through Jesus. When you love Christ and live your life immersed in Him, it is SO much easier to live selflessly. When I’m focused on Christ – not on myself and not on the things that are temporary (this world and all the stuff in it) – then loving others is easy. It doesn’t feel like a “HAVE to” anymore. Loving and living selflessly is a “WANT to”. You probably know the old hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
The temporary things that will all pass away – the things that I let get to me that don’t really matter – all of it grows so dim when I’m focused on Jesus. Then I can love my husband, my kids, my friends, my family, the poor and broken, because I’m focused on something of SIGNIFICANCE. I’m focused on the things that matter. When you turn your eyes upon Jesus, living selflessly just flows out of that.
Turn your eyes upon Him. Live Selflessly. Live Generously. LIVE life!
What can you do to live generously, today? Test my theory. I’m confident you’ll like the results.