by Rick Warren
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:4 NLT)
Marriage gives you many opportunities to make adjustments in your life. Change happens all the time — from the changing stages of your children to moves to job changes to illnesses. When circumstances change in your lives, both you and your spouse will have to make adjustments to keep your marriage on track. In fact, simply being two imperfect people building a life together requires making adjustments for one another.
Marriages that grow will always demonstrate the ability to make adjustments for one another. At its core, it’s really about being unselfish. Learning to become less selfish is one of the greatest lessons of life. It might be the most important lesson God wants to teach you through your marriage.
How do you become less selfish and make positive adjustments for your spouse in your marriage?
- Think about what your spouse needs most. The Bible says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4 NLT). Unfortunately, often the longer we’re married the less we think about our spouse’s needs. The Bible says we should be concerned about everyone’s needs more than our own. That’s particularly true in our homes.
- Submit to one another. To adjust to your spouse, you have to submit to him or her. That simply means giving up what you really want in order to meet your spouse’s needs. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Some men think their wives should do the adjusting in their marriage because they are the spiritual leaders of the home. But being a leader means husbands should lead the way in service in their homes.
- Make adjustments in the little things. Maybe it means arriving a little bit later or leaving a little bit earlier. Maybe it means going to bed a little bit later or a little bit earlier. Maybe it means going to the movie or restaurant your spouse wants to go to. Maybe it means listening when your spouse needs you to listen and not just when you want to listen. It’s in those little daily decisions to adjust and meet each other’s needs where genuine love is expressed.
The test of your love toward your spouse isn’t what you say about your love. It’s how you demonstrate that love. Treat your mate as Jesus would. If you make that one decision, it changes everything. The definition of mature love is to treat other people as Jesus would. Jesus is our best example when it comes to love. “This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us” (1 John 3:16a GNT).
You’ll spend the rest of your lives trying to apply that to your marriage, but your marriage will be incalculably better as you try.