Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Love is NOT Selfish

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor." Romans 12:10

Love is not selfish... Here we go again! Just reading the title is enough to give me a light slap in the face.

The truth is no matter how hard I try, each day selfishness creeps back in. There isn't anything I can do to overcome it, it's in my nature. 
"What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:5 

And if you're being honest with yourself, it's in your nature too. Each and every single one of us struggles with selfishness to one degree or another. It all comes back to that thing called original sin.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, acceptable, perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every on of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12: 2-3
 [Sidebar: Romans 12:2 is my (or rather Lawana's) GAP verse: His Good Acceptable Perfect will]

The gist of the devotional was to put our own desires and even our needs behind those of our spouse. It is hard to do this, but fortunately, at least for me, it is one of those rare things that actually gets easier with time. I find when I have surprised him, made him smile, done something above and beyond, it actually brings me joy. Not momentary pleasure, like the excitement of a new toy, but joy that is rooted in love and goodness.
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:19  I couldn't have said it better myself ;) 

Back in college there were several times, especially freshman year, when I was struggling. Whether it be from a quarrel with friends, homesickness, class trouble or general loneliness, I would be on the borderline of having a pitty party for myself. I would go down to the book store and buy a bunch of 25 cent greeting cards then spend hours at my desk or in work study writing out messages to all my friends, telling them about how much they mean to me. Just the act of reflecting on others, doing something nice for someone else, always made me feel 100 times better.  Hugs helped too, but that's another story for another day!

Brian actually still has some of these cards. They were pretty small so my hand writing is tiny! Apparently I had a lot to say {smile}. He pulled one from freshman year out of his keepsake box (I made it for him, in case any men are reading this and thinking him odd, I made it, so he uses it to appease me ;) ) that was about hugs. I can't remember the joke but it had something to do with different kinds of hugs, one of which must have been a "boyfriend girlfriend" kind because the card said something along the lines of "You give the best hugs. But I wont ever want to hug you that way, yuck!" {{{{cough cough {denial} cough cough}} No actually my affections for him developed slowly over the years, I probably didn't truly start crushing on him (admittedly) till mid sophomore or junior year.
"For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
Ok, getting back on track. The message that sticks with me from The Love Dare devotional for day 3 is this, you invest your time and money in what is important to you. What do your investments of time, and money say to your spouse? I know at the end of the day, I'm beat. It is often very hard for me to do anything other than plop my booty down on the couch or into a hot bath and relax with a capitol R.  I know he says the same. With two kids, and a strict "spending plan/house savings goal" it's hard to find the time or money to invest in each other.

I know a lot of my friends are in similar boats so I wanted to use this space today to offer a few suggestions for those with tight resources. (So much for my idea of a nice and short post today ;) but there are so many fun stories I wanted to share, and kept finding better and better bible verses, I can't cut those out!)

  • Set aside one night a week, or one or two hours a week, that nothing will trump, for each other. This isn't an official date, not something that has to cost money. For many years this time was Thursday nights for us, we would snuggle up on the couch and watch Survivor and CSI together. We have since found a few other tv shows we like, or we might try to play a game or just sit and talk. When we don't have a set time it's harder to do, when the time is planned out in advance not only are we more likely to do it, but we also look forward to it.
  • "If you tell your husband your too tired for some {wink wink} but then you get a call from a girl friend and spend 2 hours talking to her on the phone, what kind of a message does that give your husband?" This advice from an older woman at bible study has stuck with me. Newly weds may not relate to this yet, but keep it in mind to reference later. I know this dare is about time and money but I feel this area relates to both time and selfishness so bare with me. If your tempted to say no, think about whether you'd take a phone call that you know will last awhile, if the answer is yes to your friend why wouldn't you be willing to give your husband some of your time? (Sometimes I do well in this department, others not so well, but I continue striving to do better)
  • This dare actually calls for buying something for your spouse. When I did this I had trouble thinking of something to get him so this is what he ended up with: 2 avocado's, a box of Oreo's (and a gallon of milk), and Green Goodness (an expensive health drink he likes). All things he really enjoys but we try not to buy that often because they are costly. It cost about half of my personal spending money for that month, but it was well worth it to see his smile! 
  • The other day (before I knew this was the dare I'd be writing about) I had some Swagbucks to spare (thanks to my amazing husband who bought me a Kindle for my Mother's Day present, despite the fact that I couldn't justify putting it into our monthly spending plan) so I put 30 entries (starting at 20 bucks each though it was a double entry so I guess I only entered 15 times) into a Swagstakes for an Ipad 2 something I figured he'd like if it was free. I lost. I did it just because. I truly didn't even think about it, or think he'd think much of it. But when I told him I did it he was very pleasantly surprised. It made me realize that "spending" isn't just a reference to money, but to resources. He knew that I'd been hording my Swagbucks just as I do my Starbursts or Red Vines, so for me to 'give' him a portion of them, without being asked or guilt-ed into doing so was an expression of sacrifice and love. 

So, what resources do you have that you can use to put your husband first today? Can you afford to run out and buy him something he's been longing for like he did with my Kindle? Or maybe your budget is smaller and so something small like my groceries are more appropriate? Maybe you could take it out of the realm of money like I realized I could and give him something with Swagbucks, some of your prized possession, or just tell him you want to spend 30 or 40 minutes together and make it happen.  

Head over to Penelope Blue today to read today's dare. Write a blurb, link up, or just head over and check out what others did to be unselfish.


  1. Oreos are now on our splurge list too - they went up so much in price!?!??! Darn them! ;)

    I'm actually commenting because it's so funny how your love story with Brian matches mine with Eddie. It took us almost 2 years of close friendship before he said anything about liking me and until then I hadn't even thought of him like that. Although looking back, if I had let my brain think it I would have realized my heart felt it. Fun stories with fun similarities!

  2. I just laughed out loud at your comment :) Triple X!!! hahahaha!


Thank you for your comments and love!