Question: I get frustrated and upset when my husband acts selfishly, but I know I am selfish too sometimes, and that bothers me even more. What can I do to help us both in this area?
Answer: When such problems crop up between two people, whether they are married or not, honest, open, wise communication is very often the necessary first step toward solutions that will be good for both parties. Knowing how to tactfully bring up the subject and finding the humility to do so are often the hardest parts.
To be genuine and lasting, romantic love must be based on a more enduring foundation than mere physical attraction or fleshly gratification.
It must include an unselfish desire to protect and help and make someone else happy. It must also involve admiration for the other person’s finer qualities. A person can be in love with their partner’s mind, spirit, sentiments, and bearing—all of which have little or nothing to do with physical beauty. Real love is a spiritual thing; it’s not merely physical. It’s mostly manifested in spiritual and mental companionship and compatibility, the likes and dislikes and habits that the two people have in common.
Question: I have struggled for years with jealousy. I know my husband loves me, and he gives me no real reason to feel jealous, but I can’t help myself. How can I be free from the grip of jealousy?
Answer: Jealousy—that nasty feeling that you get when you think your partner is neglecting you for someone or something else—can be both irrational and overpowering. Recognizing that jealousy is wrong, that it’s a problem, is the first step, but many people don’t see it that way; they consider it a virtue, or at least a natural, acceptable part of loving someone. Of course those people are unable to overcome it; they don’t even try to.
“Can I stay with you tonight?” Carlos asked in a trembling voice. He’d had a terrible argument with his wife, he explained over the phone, and he couldn’t return home. My wife and I knew that Carlos had already been going through a very difficult time in his life. To begin with, he’d hoped to be promoted to general manager of the company he worked for, but the job had gone to someone else. A few days later he’d been involved in a traffic accident, though fortunately no one was injured. Now this! Everything seemed to be going wrong.
I invited him over, and before he arrived, my wife and I prayed for Jesus to help us encourage him, as well as for wisdom in how to advise him in this personal situation, if he should ask for that.
When people ask for advice regarding their marriage or budding love relationship, I often tell them that the most important thing is to let Jesus be the boss. No matter how much two people love each other and no matter how much they have in common, they are going to have some disagreements. When that happens, the surest way to know what’s right is to ask the highest authority. If both partners are willing to let Jesus make the decisions, they can avoid the friction and resentment that undermine many relationships.
Our lives involve all sorts of relationships. In fact, relating to people is largely what life is about. Relationships, when based on the right foundation and growing in the right direction, are wonderful, rewarding experiences. Each new relationship also brings with it an exciting new set of challenges and surprises. And of course no relationships are as challenging or full of surprises as romantic relationships.
Lasting, genuine love is based on a more enduring foundation than mere fleshly gratification. It must be an unselfish desire to protect and to help and to make someone else happy.
As my mother used to tell me, don’t marry the girl you can live with—marry the girl you can’t live without!
At a couple’s golden marriage anniversary celebration, the wife told guests the secret of her happy 50-year marriage. “On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of my husband’s faults, which for the sake of our marriage I would overlook.”
As the guests were leaving, a young woman whose own marriage had recently been rocky asked the grandmotherly woman what some of her husband’s faults had been that she had seen fit to overlook.