Q: My husband and I disagree about how much time he should spend each week on sports and hunting. I say that he should ask my permission before agreeing to lots of extra activities, while he says he’ll do what he wants. How can we resolve this?
A: Joyce Meyer once wrote, “If selfishness is the key to being miserable, then selflessness must be the key to being happy!” Every person must make a decision at some point in his or her life about core values.
Persons who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ will also adopt His values as their own. Speaking to his closest disciples, Jesus once said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
Assuming that you are both believers, you follow a teacher who was known for His selfless sacrifice. He was less demanding and more inviting, less desirous of getting His own way and more known for his giving to others.
Following His lead, your marriage is not meant to be a battle ground for two selfish children, but a training ground for growing adults. Make no mistake; you are in a battle, but your spouse is not your enemy.
Let me encourage you both to consider whether or not you believe that one distinguishing mark of a mature man or woman is that they become less selfish as they age. Do you really believe that as we grow older Christ desires that we become less about ourselves and more about others?
What will this mean for each of you? First, it will mean that you won’t demand that your husband “ask permission” as if he were a child and you were his parent. Second, your husband will be more concerned with your input about how his activities affect you and your children. He will be more interested in who he is in the home than who he is in the woods.
Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 13 that “love is not selfish” and “does not demand its own way.”