I recently enjoyed hearing Ron Strode in Melbourne. Ron is part of Worship Centre in Brisbane and he and his wife, Robyn, have a marriage counseling ministry. He gave his own assessment, gleaned from many years of helping marriages, as to why marriages fail. I’d like to share his insight with you.
You will recall that I have identified seven causes of marriage failure. If you missed that article do a quick search for that post. I point out that the principal destroyer of marriage is “Selfishness”. Let’s see how Ron’s insights mesh with mine.
Ron claims that the principal destroyer of marriages is that people focus on what they Don’t Have rather than what they Have!
An example Ron gave is that a man may wish his wife still had the same tricky figure she had when they married. The man may want his wife to still look as ‘hot’ as she did in her younger years. Here the man is focussed on what he Doesn’t Have, rather than what he has.
In that case, Ron points out, the wife may have given birth to six children and her body may struggle to maintain its youthful trim lines. The wife’s body has changed, but as a consequence of producing children. It is unreasonable for the man to demand that his wife maintain her figure, while also expecting her to give birth to a number of children over the years.
Similarly a wife may look at her husband and think he is not the same man she married. He is not romantic and affectionate like he used to be. She might then focus on what she Doesn’t Have, such as the on-going romantic relationship, rather than what she Does Have.
Ron pointed out that when his own marriage had become stale he was challenged to write a list of things about Robyn which were a delight to him. This is the list of benefits – the “Have” of their relationship. He came up with over 30 different things which were a blessing to him in his wife.
When he recognised his own heart becoming cold toward her, or taking her for granted, he would review that list of positives and be reminded of all the reasons he should be glad he married her.
Can you see a connection between Selfishness and what Ron has identified here? When a person thinks about what they don’t have, they are looking at the marriage selfishly. They are looking for what they want or lust after. They are making demands of the other person.
When a person is unselfish they are able to bless their spouse, not because the spouse gives them everything they want, or is the ideal spouse. They bless the spouse because that is their responsibility. They bless the spouse as an investment in their marriage and as an act of worship to God.
Selfish people can’t make that kind of investment. They may think they are SO special that others should invest in them, but not them in others. This is pride. It comes before destruction. It will destroy relationships.
Selfish people may be so addicted to lust, self-gratification or the like that they can only demand gratification, rather than being a blessing. Such enslaved people will destroy themselves and their relationships.
Try Ron’s suggestion. Make a list of the positives. Prayerfully ask God to open your heart and mind toward your spouse and to show you how to bless them. If your pride or lusts get in the way then realise you need deliverance, repentance and healing. Get spiritual help from a Bible believing, God-fearing pastor or ministry person who can bring you out of your own slavery.
If selfishness is your ultimate problem, then ask God to help you die to yourself. Learn to put yourself on the altar, take up your cross and live for God, not yourself.