“If ours is to be a selfless marriage, then I must race to second place!” That’s not verbatim Jacob’s response, but it’s close. Gold star, Jacob. Well-said. Challenging to accomplish!
Jacob got it! He understood the key that unlocks a purposeful, passionate marriage—seeking second place in the relationship.
Hi. If our paths have never crossed, I’m Bill Hutcheson, the Selfless Love Marriage Coach.
For 40 years of serving as staff member, pastor, senior pastor, now as marriage coach, I’ve been invited into scores of marriages that lost the helium of happiness. Many a couple’s relationship no longer soars but lays on the floor as a spent party balloon.
They still love each other. They never intended to dig this marriage rut. One day—usually on separate days—each mate looked up to see the dark walls of their ditch.
A quick inventory taken . . . let’s see
• great kids, good pets-√
• jobs, cars, & house- √
• close friends, friendly neighbors-√
• comfortable life & adequate 401k-√
• members of a fantastic church family-√
Even with our occasional glitches, we live an enviable life. So, where did happiness go? When last did we feel some of that early magic? Can’t remember!
Most often, the helium of happiness seeps out of a marriage slowly. Maybe it’s squeezed out imperceptibly by the mounting pressures of family and financial responsibilities. Every child added to the family brings that much more commitment. Every promotion carries demands equal the increased compensation. Every vehicle or home upgrade cuts a larger piece of the financial pie. Every new toy takes a bit of time for use and maintenance from a shrinking calendar and clock.
No wonder the euphoria of early marriage waned! If we don’t keep our beloved in view daily, we may lose her or him amid all the duties and stuff of life.
On the other hand, I’ve seen God pump new purpose and renewed passion into flat marriages. God lifts the spousal balloon again with the rarest of elements—selfless love. On God’s periodic chart of relational elements, God gave SL (selfless love) the divine atomic number of 1. It’s first.
God founded the marital covenant on selfless love in his creation intention. But where do we learn that? Our parents were not taught selfless love. We don’t hear it in church!
Sadly, most girl’s vision of marital bliss is shaped by brides magazines. Males and females suffer under the indirect influence of public and social media. Sadder still, many boys have their vision of male/female relationships formed by pornographic media.
What do each of these influences share in common? A self-centered focus.
Girls learn that they are entitled to a dream wedding from brides’ magazines. Every soap opera and reality show magnifies selfishness as a normal in every relationship. Pornography flaunts self-centeredness as a virtue and turns every relationship into self-gratification.
God offers an eternal alternative. Jesus showed us in the flesh what selfless love looks like. The Holy Spirit brings God’s unconditional love as potential in every follower of Jesus.
How does the rare element appear in a marriage? Jacob began to see it. It’s a race for second place in the relationship. It’s putting my companion ahead of myself. For Jacob, it means cleaning the cat’s litter box for his beloved. For another husband, it means not leaving dishes in the sink because it frustrates his bride. For me, it means opening the car door for my beloved because she feels special when I do.
Selfless love reflects a huge sacrifice of forgetting self and personal wants, but it often does so in small acts like taking out the trash, deferring to our spouse’s restaurant choice, watching a college football game, or opening the car door for her in the rain.
And, guess what? If both you and your beloved race to second place, everybody wins! Try it.