Are you familiar with the term “woke” as used in our culture today? It gets tossed around a lot and a huge number of people seem to be pretty proud to declare that they are “woke”. Basically, the word (as it is being applied in today’s culture) means awakened to social injustice and unfairness and the lack of equity for all people.
Well, I’m probably going to offend the “woke” crowd by what I’m about to say. While the Lord is indeed a God of justice, and he does call his people to make sure justice is carried out for the oppressed, he does not tell his followers to fight for fairness and equity in their own relationships! Instead, he actually calls his followers to be more concerned for other people than for themselves! Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
What I’ve learned along my journey in marriage is that self-sacrifice and working to serve the other person is that secret sauce to a great marriage! And if you BOTH do that, wow! Your marriage will be amazing! However, if you focus on getting that other person to meet your needs, and wait for them to give equally back to you, you’re going to be a miserable, resentful, disappointed person.
Maybe it’s time to try God’s way of doing relationships. Try being anti-woke. Don’t wait for the other person to give to you and meet your desires. Give to them. Look for ways to bless them. It’s the secret sauce to a great marriage, and even if your marriage doesn’t improve right away, you’ll know that you’ve been a great representative of the Lord. After all, that’s how he treats us! He is definitely anti-woke in the way he interacts with us. He gives a whole lot more than he receives.
I’m going to give you the oddest, most counter-intuitive tip for your marriage. You’re not going to want to hear this tip, let alone do it! However, I urge you to give it a chance; maybe even do an experiment and try it for a few weeks straight. I learned in my marriage to Raul that this tip was powerful and transformative, and it drew my husband’s heart to me. Here is the tip, and it is a Biblical principle: Die to self. I know. I told you it was counter-intuitive! In short, this principle could be summed up like this: It isn’t all about me!
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
1 Corinthians 10:24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Here’s what I know. When I focus on myself, and what I want, and what I think I need, and how the people in my life aren’t making me happy or perfectly meeting my needs….I grow depressed and resentful. I become an irritable, sour-faced woman! No one, including a husband, wants to be around that!! But, if I focus on serving God, responding to his prompts on loving and serving others….I feel fulfilled and joyful. In marriage, if you focus on being a blessing to your husband, his heart is drawn to you and your heart, believe it or not, is drawn to him. The marriage grows stronger! By the way, being a blessing to your husband can mean many things. It can mean being kind even though he’s in a bad mood from a stressful day…or getting up early to make him a great breakfast even though you’re headed off to work too…or lovingly and respectfully asking him to seek help if he has a personal problem that is spiraling out of control.
Try it for a few weeks. Ask God every morning to help you die to self-centeredness and ask Him for direction on how to be a blessing to your husband this day. Let me know how it goes!