Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
It is difficult, if not impossible, to have a thriving marriage if you act selfishly. Marriage is about putting the needs of another person before your own. We live in a society where we are taught that our needs go first. That is contrary to the scripture above where Paul is speaking to the church in Philippi.
God’s best in marriage can be seen when both spouses have an attitude that says, “Your needs come first.”
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If we speak words and there is no action behind them, we are like a clanging cymbal. I had a child who played percussion in the Junior High band. When he was first learning the percussion instruments, I didn’t hear beautiful music. I heard a clanging cymbal. That is what we sound like when we do a lot of talking and never back it up with action.
Mean what you say.
In our marriage ministry, we often hear of couples who are separated or divorced because of a small problem that started years ago. It may have been a lie or an argument that was never resolved. It continued to grow in the heart of one spouse, and eventually, there was the talk. If we determine to deal with the issues out of a spirit of love, we will see God’s love shine in our marriages.
Let every word that comes out of your mouth have meaning. When those words hurt your spouse, be willing to put them ahead of your pride and admit your wrongdoing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
How do I live out a love that says, “you before me?”
This passage in 1 Corinthians gives us the recipe for success.
Loves shows patience – it is longsuffering.
Love shows kindness – how can you love your spouse if you refuse to be nice to them?
Love doesn’t envy – you can’t have unresolved feelings of jealously and love your spouse well.
Love is not self-seeking – love says, “you before me.”
Love keeps no record of wrongs – true love forgives.
Love protects, trusts, and hopes – love wants the best for your spouse and means you will do your part to protect their heart from hurt, to trust them, and to have hope for your marriage.
Love perseveres – true love doesn’t give up!
When two people striving to serve God decide to do marriage His way, we can see these attributes of love lived out. That is when we will see marriages succeed!
How can you put “you before me” into practice in your marriage? Try it and see if your spouse notices the difference in the way you are showing love.