(This post was originally published 5-19-09).
This post is about my personal experience with The Love Dare. If you would like to learn more about The Love Dare, go here.
Day Three: Love is not selfish. Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.” What did you choose to give your spouse? What happened when you gave it?”
From The Love Dare book:
¤¤¤ We live in a world that is enamored with “self.” The culture around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger of this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once inside a marriage relationship.
If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness. Unfortunately, it is something that is ingrained into every person from birth. You can see it in the way young children act, and often in the way adults mistreat one another. Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. Yet you cannot point out the many ways your spouse is selfish without admitting that you can be selfish too. That would be hypocritical.
Nobody knows you as well as your spouse. And that means no one will be quicker to recognize a change when you deliberately start sacrificing your wants and wishes to make sure his or needs are met.
If you find it hard to sacrifice your own desires to benefit your spouse, then you may have a deeper problem with selfishness than you want to admit.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I truly want what’s best for my husband or wife?
2. Do I want them to feel loved by me?
3. Do they believe I have their best interests in mind?
4. Do they see me as looking out for myself first? ¤¤¤
I will be the first to admit – I’m a selfish person.
I am. I used to be really bad, but I’m mellowing with age.
I would find myself getting so angry whenever Kevin asked me to join him in something, or he wanted my attention at a given time and I wasn’t ready to give it to him. Granted, he can’t expect me to drop something I’m in the middle of and he’s learning to be patient in that respect, but overall, I would get so annoyed with him (and the boys) whenever they asked me to do something that took me away from MY activities.
Wah. I was such a selfish brat. (And still am, to a large extent).
I still find myself getting impatient. And I still berate myself about my selfish tendencies. It’s hard to de-program yourself from the assumption that the world revolves around YOU. Society has beat it into our heads that “we DESERVE” so many things – perfect marriages, brilliant children, creature comforts, superior houses, impressive cars … blahblahblah.
Which may be true, but not at the expense of those around us. And we certainly don’t have the right to step on toes, or take advantage of those close to us, in order to reach that life trophy.
And this is where I think the feminist movement has actually hurt women. Sure, it’s important that we be treated as equals, that we get paid the same as a man (IF we’re doing the same amount of work as our male counterparts – I certainly don’t think it’s fair for a woman to be paid more simply because she’s female), to have the same rights and privileges, BUT, I think we have been so focused on making that happen that we’ve actually hurt ourselves in the process.
Now females are so determined to be the best, to have an advantage, to be heard and respected, that the opposite is actually happening; we’re being heard all right, but is it the message we want to project?
Our gender has become the aggressor, and though I certainly have no desire to go back to the days when women dressed up and wore lipstick to clean house (*shudder*), I think a little humility is required here.
I think releasing our selfish tendencies might be one of the hardest things to master in a relationship. Love is not about taking, it’s about giving, willingly and without expectations for rewards.
I’m afraid I failed this lesson today. I simply could not think of something small to buy Kevin. I haven’t given up, there’s still today, but it bothers me that I can’t think of anything. I think this is a message to me that I’m STILL too focused on ME and not really thinking about HIM. It’s not the materialistic aspect of the gift, but the realization that I’m not as in-tune with him as I thought and that I can’t think of ONE small thing that he might like that bothers me.
It’s been a long, hard road shedding my selfish nature. I’m certainly not where I need to be yet, but I’m making progress and the fact that I’m AWARE of this flaw is a step in the right direction.