My Dad said something profound the other day. (He does that a lot. Maybe it’s his age. Maybe it’s his bald head. I don’t know. All I know, is that the man is a modern day sage/prophet/guru.) He said, “You know, son, the more I get to know your Mom, the more I am changed.”
Isn’t that an interesting concept? I feel like it’s pretty countercultural. We live in a self-centric society and interestingly, as technology increases, so does our selfishness. Think about it. Our social media feeds feature content based on our “likes,” ads are based on our shopping habits, autocorrect suggests words that we frequently use and smartphones allow us accessibility to virtually anything when we want it. It’s like we all live in individual little worlds that revolve around each of us. (Sometimes these worlds collide which often causes conflict, but that’s another conversation for another time.)
I have found selfishness to bleed into every area of my life, especially my marriage. I somewhat expected for my wife to figure me out and “cater” to me, like everything else in my life seemingly does. Don’t get me wrong; I fully expected to do the same for her but I honestly was more focused on her “catering” to me. I’m SUPER Type A (surprisingly) so I can be really nitpicky about the most random things. It’s not difficult for me to voice these particulars to my wife. When I do, in the moment, I sincerely think that I’m being helpful but maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe doing so is my subconscious finding excuses in order to get my way. Instead of focusing on her “catering” to me, maybe I should focus on learning from and serving her.
My wife isn’t perfect, but she’s pretty darn close. She loves relentlessly, gives cheerfully, helps constantly and cares deeply. I KNOW that there is so much for me to learn from how she lives. In past 7+ years that I’ve known her, I’ve notably grown in compassion and generosity. She has definitely helped to nurtured this growth in my character. Some of things that I most care about now, didn’t make the list a few years ago. I have her to thank for that.
Maybe relationships are meant to break selfishness. Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40),” could have more to do with building selflessness than simply “being nice.” Look at Jesus’ relationships as outlined in the New Testament. He was always serving people (Matthew 9:35-38) and for those who follow Him, we are called to do the same (Galatians 5:13-14).
My relationship with God follows this mantra too. The more I read God’s Word and spend time with Him, the more I grow to see people as He does. It’s not wonder that the psalmist prayed for God to make his heart like His and not the other way around (Psalm 86:11).
Now, I’m NOT saying that we shouldn’t share our lives or call each other out when needed. There is definitely a time and a place for those things to happen. What I AM saying (or suggesting) is that instead of getting mad at people, or more importantly/often God, when they “don’t get you,” check your heart. Maybe there’s more for you and I to learn than we think.