I’m hoping the stats have changed since last year’s embarrassing security breach, but February 15th has historically been the busiest, most profitable day of the year for the adultery-marketing website known as Ashley Madison.
Why is that? Why would record numbers of married folks go looking for an affair the very next day after Valentine’s?
I can answer that in one word: Selfishness.
Granted, that’s probably not a word the adulterers themselves would use. More likely than not, they’d cite reasons such as:
But all these things share a common goal: Fulfilling MY wishes. MY wants. MY expectations. MY desires. Securing MY happiness.
They all revolve around ME — and that means they all boil down to selfishness and self-centeredness.
Here’s the problem: You cannot build a strong and happy marriage when your primary concern is “What can you do for me” instead of “What can I do for you.” As long as gratifying SELF is our objective, all attempts to find lasting love will eventually and inevitably end in failure.
Happiness in marriage comes not from focusing on what you can get, but by focusing on what you can give.
The soil of entitlement? It is hopelessly barren, devoid of nutrients, and can produce nothing but discontentment and dissatisfaction.
The soil of gratitude and self-sacrifice, on the other hand, is rich and fertile. Bury a seed of love deep within that ground, and it will grow strong, will bear good fruit, and will endure — even when hardships come.
How do we do that? How can we find happiness in marriage? How do we build a love that lasts?
As with all of life’s most important questions, the answer can be found in Scripture:
6 Keys to Lasting Love
- Put the other first
- “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.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
- “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
- Treat the other well
- “In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
- “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
- Be kind
- “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
- “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
- Be forgiving
- “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- “Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
- Be sympathetic
- “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (1 Peter 3:8)
- “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5)
- Be available
- “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other…” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
Whether or not your Valentine’s Day was everything you’d hoped it would be, I pray that you will give fresh consideration to how you can apply these verses to your marriage. It is time to shift your focus from what your husband is (or isn’t) doing to make you happy and begin brainstorming instead all the ways you might bring happiness to him.