Selfishness runs rampant. Each day, I bear witness to its fruit our communities (no matter where we’re from) crumble from the inside out. We blame the corrosion of long term relationships, marriage, families, communities, our nation on a whole lot of surface nonsense—crime rates, poor schools, high divorce rates, poverty… but you know what the real issue is?
We are all a bunch of selfish jerks expecting everyone else to cater to our needs, when we should be catering to the needs of others.
And it starts inside our marriages.
The act of marriage (no matter your orientation) is the first building block of community. The communities that we long for are made of service in marriage, expanding to our children, extended family, friends, neighbors, and the world. This is how communities should be built and maintained—but not anymore.
I said it in my post, The Will to Love Fully, and I will say it again. Everything (at least in my generation) has now been couched in terms of “what’s in it for me”; “how will it benefit me”; “I can do bad by myself”; “when is somebody gonna love me”; “I need someone to accept me the way that I am or having nothing at all”; I “want what I want when I want it”; “I need someone to love me”; “I want, I need, I have to have”.
Notice that? All of those me’s and I’s?
It’s THAT SELFISHNESS that causes us to rush to separation and divorce; to jump from relationship to relationship; to never “find” happiness. Why is it that we can’t “find lasting love” like grandma and grandpa?
BECAUSE REAL LOVE TAKES WORK-NOT JUST THE FULFILLING OF OUR NEEDS—AND WE ARE TOO SELFISH TO DO THAT KIND OF WORK.
What marriage is supposed to do is create an environment in which we shed our selfish nature and give ourselves over to loving another human being selflessly, unconditionally, without expectation, and fully engaged.
What marriage has become is an emotional hotel where people check in expecting full service. We want the other person to carry our emotional baggage with care, cater to our moods and imaginations, put us “first”—and most of the time, we don’t even bother to attempt to at least reciprocate. As soon as our own needs are not being met, we check out–not bothering to repack the baggage we brought, leaving our problems and fears and failures at the feet of the people we leave. We never bother to look at how our actions affect the other person. We only care about nursing our own wounds that never heal.
Marriage isn’t about another person making us feel good, making up for past hurts, or healing our wounds. And until we stop using marriage as the substitute for the personal growth we need to experience, we will never reap the benefits—a loving, caring, healthy community.