Nobody gets married expecting to get divorced; yet the statistics claim that 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce. Why is this the case? Why do so many marriages lead to divorce? Of course there are obvious reasons such as affairs, lying and other forms of being unfaithful; but there is also a more subtle reason for divorce: selfishness. There are different forms of selfishness, some that may not even seem dangerous, but prove to be over time.
Before you are married, the only person you have to focus on is yourself. When you get married it may be difficult getting used to compromise or putting your spouse's desires before your own, but it is vital to strengthening your marriage and helping it thrive.
When you do something selfish, whether a conscious act or not, it is telling your significant other that you are more important than them. Little things, like cooking only what you like, doing things only you want to do, picking up your dirty clothes and not theirs, not helping them with a problem or forgetting to do something you said you would are some examples of this. There are many more things that may seem innocent or not a big deal, but in reality lead to selfish attitudes and behaviors, or a spouse feeling unloved or unimportant. Both will weigh on your marriage.
Disagreements and arguments happen in marriage. However, being selfish with your words is disrespectful and hurtful. Words are hard to take back. If you spew things out while you are angry that are hurtful to your spouse, those words will slowly put a divide between the two of you. Remember when you disagree to avoid name calling, blaming each other, accusations and hurtful words. Instead, focus on how you are feeling. Leave the word "you" out of your fights (For example: "You are so … " or "You always … ") and say your reactions instead ("I felt like … " or "I was upset because … "). These simple changes to your arguments can turn selfish, hurtful words into a real discussion that will solve problems.
Looks can sometimes have more of an impact than words. An eye roll or a shake of the head can lead to your spouse feeling worried or upset. Keep communication open between the two of you. If you do not agree with something, let your spouse know. Do not just shake your head and walk away. Explain yourself. This will confront the issue right away instead of letting it boil and letting your spouse build in his or her mind what your eye roll meant — which usually results in him or her thinking something far worse than what it really meant.
It is fine to need and to have alone time or even time with friends; but be careful not to make these habits a priority over your spouse. Today social media, video games, online gaming, YouTube, even chat apps can all take us into a world outside of the present — outside of what is happening in our own homes. We ignore what is going on around us and get lost in status updates, gaming marathons and instant messages. This is a dangerous way to lose real personal relationships, starting with your spouse. Be sure to limit your time with these distractions.
Expectations can be extremely dangerous. If you go into a marriage expecting your spouse to change or expecting that your relationship will always remain in the newlywed stage, then you will be disappointed. Your husband may never pick up his socks no matter how many times you ask him, and your wife may never love to cook even though you have told her how much you love her cooking. Hopefully you spent enough time with your significant other before you were married so that you knew who he or she was going into the marriage; it is selfish to think he or she will change in a way that would make your life easier. Do not expect him or her to change in every way you want, and do not base the success of your marriage on him or her changing. Relationships grow and evolve, and that is a good thing if you allow yourselves to grow together.
All of these selfish acts can be harmful to your marriage. And the more they occur, the easier it is to be selfish in other parts of your life as well. Loving someone means you want to make her happy, you want to put him before yourself, and you want to show her how much she means to you. Being selfish contradicts these desires and can lead you down a dangerous road.