I’ve only been married a little less than a year now, but with each new day, I learn something new about what it means to be selfless in a marriage.
For instance, I never celebrated birthdays all that much growing up. The only thing special about birthdays was the opportunity to grab dinner with close friends and family. There was nothing more special to it.
But today is my wife’s birthday, and I want to make a big deal about it. I don’t want to use my past experience and understanding of birthdays to deprive her of her special day. I want to celebrate her in the way she understands birthdays.
Being selfless in a marriage means putting aside your individual wants, concerns, and modes of understanding in exchange for showing love to your spouse.
This is a hurdle for many couples out there today. If we’re honest, sometimes we can drop the ball on celebrating birthdays or anniversaries, simply because we are stuck in the trappings of our own understanding.
Our own selfish perspective can sometimes be our greatest enemy when it comes to expressing love to our spouse—or really anyone.
This was how it was for me in the past, but I’m trying to get over it. I’m trying to put aside my daily concerns and go all out for my wife. She deserves it.
If you’re struggling with escaping your daily concerns and desires, here are some ideas to show love to your spouse:
1. Take them to a restaurant without screens.
Our culture has taken the family aspect out of our dining experience by placing screens visible to every booth in a restaurant. Society tries to distract us even when we’re with our families. But there are a few gems out there, restaurants that value family and relationships over entertainment. Go to these places and show your significant other that they are the center of your attention.
2. Put work aside for a day.
I’m one of those workers who feel guilty if I don’t touch my work for a day. But I’m trying to be better at this, primarily because I don’t want to convey to my wife or future children that my work is more important than them. In practicing this, I try to stay cognizant of times when my wife and I are shoulder to shoulder instead of face to face. In other words, I don’t want a majority of our time to be us in our separate worlds doing our individual work on the couch. I want to face her and give priority to her over what I do on my own.
3. Pay attention to the stories they tell.
People often repeat stories because hidden in them are desires they wish were realities. Instead of ignoring a story you’ve heard before, lean in. Take the effort to actually listen in for those hidden details. Once those details exhume themselves in your mind, you can capitalize on them later—either by surprising your spouse with something the detail refers to, or by simply bringing it up later.
4. Don’t let money be a crutch for how you express love.
My wife and I are poor newlyweds, but we love it. We know we’re not going to stay in this state forever. Eventually we’ll get out of this financial burden. But there’s something we could learn in this time, like not relying on money to express love.
Many couples shrug their shoulder and apologize if they don’t have enough money to buy a gift for their partner. But then, they leave it there. If they don’t have enough money, that means no showing love.
Yet that’s not how it should be. We should be insistent to express our love in other ways.
Don’t let money dictate how you show love, because what happens if you lose all your money is you end up losing your love as well.
5. Repeat as often as possible.
Birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions are not the only times to celebrate love. Being selfless in any relationship means we continually put the other above our own desires and concerns. Repeat these actions of love whenever you feel necessary, not just when a birthday comes up.
If you want to live like Jesus, truly be selfless in every arena of your life, including your marriage.
If you liked this post, check out: