Marriage and the Center of the Universe
On June 22, 1633, Galileo was put on trial for his belief that that Sun, and not the earth was the center of the universe. There’s something ingrained within us to believe that we should be the center of the universe. If life were a movie, we’d always play the main character. In social situations we believe people are paying attention to what we’re doing. We use phrases like, “Why do these things always happen to me?” Have you ever noticed how quickly children learn the words me and mine?
Galileo might have proven the earth is not the center of the universe, but could anyone make you believe that you’re not? If there’s one thing that comes natural to every human being, it’s the tendency towards thinking only about ourselves.
These feelings infiltrate and affect our marriages. We get frustrated when our spouse can’t meet our needs to to the extent we expect and demand. We wonder why they can’t clean, or cook or care with the same quality we see ourselves doing. The constant let down that our spouse can’t adequately meet our needs can lead to a downward spiral of disappointment and resentment.
But, what would happen if we found out we were NOT the center of the universe? What if marriage was never supposed to be about our needs? What if there is an entirely different way we should view life and marriage?
It’s Not About You
Biblical prophets declared that one day a great king would be born in Israel who would save his people. He would not only be a king but also God himself on earth. Though, instead of being born in an opulent palace, he quietly came into the world in a barn. He could have demanded earthly honor and respect, but his ministry was marked with service and humility.
One day the disciples of Jesus were arguing about who deserved to sit at his right and left hand in heaven. Jesus gathered them all together and explained, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Mark 10:44-45)
Then, the night he was arrested, this great king bent down and washed his disciples’ disgusting feet. Jesus said, “I have set you and example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15) Jesus showed everyone for all time that our lives should be marked with other-centered service instead of self-centered demands.
You see life was never meant to be about us. It was never supposed to be about our needs and our time and our things. It’s why the apostle Paul said, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4) In both life and marriage we should seek to serve others more than we work to serve ourselves.
The Other-Centered Marriage
What would happen if you spent more time thinking about the needs of your spouse today instead of your own? Imagine how your thinking and expectations would change if you began to focus more on how you could serve and love your spouse than how they could serve and love you? What would happen if you offered to put the kids to bed or do the dishes or go grocery shopping? Serving others with no expectation of return changes our priorities and ultimately our heart.
These kinds of thoughts don’t come naturally to us, especially in marriage. We’re trained from a young age that marriage is meant to make us happy. But, Jesus showed love with no expectation of receiving love in return. Yes, a healthy marriage will see both parties working to love and serve the other. But, service has to start somewhere.
You may be struggling with a spouse who doesn’t prioritize your needs or even your marriage. The goal here is not to dismiss or devalue those needs. But, maybe you’re desperate for things to change and you’ve tried everything- yelling, nagging, pouting, manipulating and nothing’s worked. Why not give selfless-service a try this week? Choose to love and serve your spouse for one week and see how they respond. If you have a journal, take notes each day on the ways you’re choosing to serve your spouse. You may not notice any changes at first, but don’t be surprised when they soon begin to reciprocate service.
Marriage Support at Vienna Presbyterian
After saying, “I do” many believe marriage should be filled with blissful love and laughter. But, a daily dose of stress related to work, family, finances and living with another human being can quickly turn paradise into purgatory. Vienna Presbyterian Church understands the problems that arise and surprise couples in marriage. We want to let you know that we’re here to offer marriage support. You can click here to learn more about our Sunday Services or click here to learn more about marriage support offered at our church.