I haven’t met many husbands who didn’t know they were supposed to love their wives, and yet, I have met many men who weren’t very good at loving.
I know in my own life, I’ve been married 23 years now.
And I actually came into marriage with a lot of knowledge, I think. And even without all that training, actually, at least, I would have known the importance of loving my wife, and specifically, of loving her by being unselfish.
There are so many verses, how can you not?
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love does not insist on its own way. Jesus in Mark 10:45 exhorts us “For the Son of Man did not come to serve, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” There’s a whole text on marriage in Ephesians 5 which goes to the example of Christ, commanding us, love your wives as Christ loved the church. And the explanation of Christ’s love is just the picture of being unselfish. And even, I wanted to be a leader, a pastor, and I knew from James that one of the marks of earthly wisdom is selfish ambition, and from Titus, that you can’t be an elder, if you are self-willed, focused on pleasing self.
And yet, while I knew a lot of verses about being unselfish I don’t think I really knew what it meant to be unselfish in everyday life.
I had to do a lot of thinking about it.
Because, by nature, have a pretty strong self-love.
And, I want to think about it. If there’s one thing I want to be good at, actually, it’s at being unselfish, in general, but especially, in my family.
More than degrees, or anything like that, here’s my big goal, of being so unselfish and loving by the time I die.
The benefits are huge. Unselfish love is the soil for so much good to grow in families. Maybe atmosphere would be another word. When there’s an unselfish atmosphere in a home. It’s a beautiful place. And a lot of that starts with the Dad. And I want to work on unselfishness, not just because of the benefit but because unselfishness, is tied to a lot of others virtues actually.
It doesn’t exist on its own, unselfishness.
Working on being unselfish is connected to working on becoming more humble.
And it is definitely connected to faith and appreciating the gospel, real unselfishness, there’s a selfishness unselfishness that’s different, but real unselfishness is connected to the gospel, and it, certainly has a lot to do with contentment, and is also connected to more positive, virtues, like being compassionate. Compassion is kind of the positive outflow of not being selfish. If you have uncompassionate people, the problem is really selfishness.
And I guess, I want to talk pretty specifically about learning to be unselfish, because while obviously, we all know, being unselfish is ultimately a heart attitude, the reality being an unselfish husband is also a skill.
You can be a good or bad at it.
You can get better at it.
There’s a skill to unselfishness.
Like with a sport, I guess. You might have two people that both really want to play a sport, but one person may be better at it, and I guess, we could talk about this in terms of wisdom, there’s the law, love unselfishly, and then there’s wisdom, like, in the nitty gritty issues of life, you can do that, well or not well.
And I want to give you some ideas, that may be totally obvious to some of you, because you are good at being unselfish, but to knuckleheads like me, weren’t always as obvious, about learning to become more unselfish.
Let me close by just noting the first.
You have to think about it.
We’ll talk about this more next time. But if you are a husband, one way you can become less selfish, is by assuming you need to work at becoming less selfish. This is an area you need to grow. Guaranteed.