You may not realize how selfish you are until you take time to reflect on your thoughts and behaviors.
Selfishness can stem from having unrealistic expectations of your partner, and feeling disappointed and entitled to someone better when they fail to meet them.
Selfishness can appear when you play the victim card in every argument you have.
It appears when you believe you shouldn't have to pick up your spouse's mess because you have too much on your plate, when in reality, their plate is just as full as yours.
Selfishness is easier than empathy. It is easier to feel victimized instead of understanding why your short temper is harmful to others.
But when you take time to recognize your selfish tendencies, you can start to see your spouse's needs and how you can put them before your own. Marriage is not 25/75 or even 50/50 - it is 100/100. You should both be commiting your all.
When you both put your own needs on hold and show each other compassion, empathy, love and understanding, you will find that both of your needs will be met. Your spouse is not your roommate, they are your other half. When you pick up their slack when they aren't able to juggle every obligation, they will do the same for you. Strive to improve and better each other in all aspects of your relationship and life together.
From pride to humility
Selfishness is the root of pride. Being too proud to apologize or admit your faults has a devastating effect on any relationship. Pride is the ultimate relationship killer. Recognizing your inner struggles with pride is the first step in finding humility.
Humbling yourself allows your mind to have clarity and peace when conflicts arise. Humility also allows you to take suggestions or criticism from your spouse in a constructive and enlightening way. Don't be so quick to take offense and justify yourself before you truly think about what your spouse is saying. Finding humility means less arguing in your relationships, more security and a sense of understanding.
Don't allow romance novels and movies to cloud your sense of reality. Although everyone swoons over Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet's relationship in Pride and Prejudice or Noah and Allie's in The Notebook, sometimes we fail to notice that these romances are works of fiction and Hollywood acting.
Although you are entitled to a great relationship, you must separate Hollywood from the real world. Not every day of your relationship will involve moonlit picnics or kisses in the rain. What it does involve are dirty dishes, burned casseroles and a the chance to watch Netflix for a couple of hours at the end of the day.
If you ever feel disappointed in your sweetheart for not measuring up to your unattainable standards, take a moment and place yourself in their shoes. Perhaps you never truly understood or realized how much they manage to do for you throughout the day while still trying to balance college classes, a full-time job and problems at home.
When you view the world from their perspective and understand, their offer to do the dishes is more attractive than anything found in The Notebook.
Not everything your significant other is interested in is going to interest you too. But instead of getting lost in your own thoughts when they start talking, concentrate and listen wholeheartedly. Good communication is key in any relationship, and when you do your best to be engaged in the things they love (even if it's not your first choice) they will do the same for you.
Relationships are about discovering and taking on the world together. Instead of scrolling through Instagram to pass the time, choose to live in the moment and fully enjoy the experience with them. There is nothing more selfless than investing yourself in the things they love to do from time to time, even if you normally wouldn't be caught dead at Comic Con.
All in all, a healthy relationship starts with the realization that the world does not only revolve around you. When you understand someone else, you will have more clarity, happiness and love in every relationship you have.
Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.