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Dealing with selfishness in marriage


James O. James

Selfishness means to care for only oneself; getting as much as you want but giving little or nothing in return. In short it is all about you.Selfishness is not uncommon because man has a natural tendency to be selfish. In our largely individualistic society, we grow up learning to be selfish, possessive and competitive. Selfishness is a mark of immaturity because it hinders bonding and good fellowship. Selfish people make poor marriage partners and church members because they believe the world revolves around them, and they must have their way all of the time.

Before marriage, all decisions you took were all about yourself: what you want; where you went; what you did; what you wore; they all tended to centre on you. However, once you’re married, the story changes. It is no longer “I” but “We.” It is no longer my money but our money, no longer what I want but what we need. In marriage, you learn to compromise, as marriage changes our perception and what our values should be.
The opposite of selfishness is self-denial, humility and generosity.

Signs of selfishness
• When you find it hard to compromise.
• When you believe life is all about you. You must have it your way.
• When others cannot share your things with you.
• When you find it hard to forgive or let go.
• When you always compete with your spouse. Marriage is a co-operation not a competition.
• When you only care about yourself.
• When you are not happy about the progress or joy of others.


• Repels people from you. Selfishness is like an unripe fruit; it is distasteful to eat.
• Creates resentment.
• Leads to poor communication.
• Destroys happiness in the home.
• You don’t think about the well-being of the marriage or your spouse.
• Prevents you from growing and walking together.
• Destroys trust and loyalty.

How to kill selfishness
• Take responsibility – admit you are selfish and begin to work on it.
• Try to understand other people’s point of view. If you must win an argument at all cost, you may end up losing a friend.
• Stop hiding things from your spouse.
• Think of your spouse’s needs more than yours.
• Be accommodative – allow your spouse have his/her way sometimes.
• Silence any negative thought that suggests you have your way right now.
• Share everything you have with your spouse.
• Be patient with your spouse – it takes time and effort to change.
• Learn to talk about important things with your spouse.
• Admit your faults and learn to say, “I am sorry” when wrong.
• Build your marriage – your marriage is more important to God than your job or career.
• Above all, commit your marriage to God in prayers.

Prayer Points
• O God my Father, help me to overcome selfishness in my life.
• O God my Father, help me to be a loving and accommodative spouse to my partner in Jesus name.
• I confess that from today, I will learn to share all that I have with my spouse in Jesus name.
• Every voice suggesting that I have my way all the time, I silence you now in Jesus name.
• O God my Father, teach me to say I am sorry when I am wrong.
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In this article:
James O. James
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