By Dr. Ed Young

There’s never been a perfect marriage. Not even from the very beginning with Adam and Eve.

Sure, Adam and Eve enjoyed an ideal relationship for a while — the kind God intended for a husband and wife to share for a lifetime. But then the devil intervened.

You know the rest of the story.

God confronts Adam about his sin, and he blames his wife: “Lord, it’s not my fault. It’s hers! ” Likewise, Eve blames her circumstances: “God, I can’t be held responsible for this. The serpent deceived me. Blame him for this! 

The beautiful marriage relationship that God had designed as a perfect union collapsed into a bitter exchange of accusations — the first selfishness-induced marital battle in history.

Selfishness is still the number one problem in marriage. It started in the garden with Adam and Eve, and it’s still relevant today — maybe more so than ever.

So how do you know if selfishness is impacting your relationship?

Look out for these four symptoms of selfishness. And then try to resolve them:

  1. Immaturity
  2. A lot of relationships start with puppy love; it’s fun! But unless puppy love grows into mature love, your marriage will struggle. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15 to “be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (NASB). Puppy love is impatient, self-centered, self-protective and given to outbursts of anger. Mature love (with God’s help) seeks to give, responds gently, and is patient, transparent, and vulnerable.

  3. Being “too busy”
  4. It’s easy to spend time on our careers, hobbies, and other self-gratifying activities — all at the expense of our marriages. Too often I’ve heard of marriages suffering because one or both partners became “too busy.” They lived together, yet never took time for each other.

  5. Insensitivity
  6. Insensitivity can destroy any kind of relationship. No one wants to spend time with someone who doesn’t listen or give consideration to their thoughts or feelings. Paul offers a model of what sensitivity looks like, in Ephesians 5:17: “Do not be foolish, but understand….” Seek to be sensitive and understand your spouse.

  7. Stubbornness
  8. You’ll see stubbornness most clearly when it comes to submission. The most harmonious marriages are those in which both partners submit to each other as they would to the Lord. This doesn’t mean disagreements and conflicts never erupt. But it does mean that both the husband and wife consciously choose to put the other first in all decision-making.

Find out more in my book, The 10 Commandments of Marriage, our thanks for your support today. You’ll find biblical insight and real-life experiences to help you revive a failing marriage or make a great relationship even better!


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