I am selfish. It’s my nature. I don’t want to share! *stamps her foot like a two year old*
All day long I share my time. Instead of reading that book calling my name, I’m folding laundry to make sure those other humans living in my house aren’t naked. Instead of napping in the afternoon, I’m playing with blocks on the floor with my baby and making sure he doesn’t swallow that stray Monopoly shoe I found in the carpet. Some days I don’t mind this at all, some days I stamp my foot.
But my worst form of selfishness comes when I’ve put those kids to bed, made sure the dishwasher is going, straightened up the living room, and climbed into bed. I look over and see my husband looking back at me. I know that we’ve been distant from each other lately, the cords of intimacy fraying a bit. I know that he wants some of my time as well, even needs it. I know.
But this is my time. I stamp my foot.
1 Corinthians 7:5 reads, “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (NIV).
There’s a reason God didn’t say, ”It would be a good idea not to deprive each other.” A commanding ”Do not” is pretty clear. And why? Because Satan will tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I don’t think this only means sexual self-control, but also the temptation to dig deeper into selfishness. The longer you deprive each other, the more quickly the cords fray.
And—from my own experience—the longer you deprive each other, the harder it is to come together again. Every day drives the wedge a little bit deeper. Every night, the space between you in the bed gets a little bit wider, and the intimacy between you a little bit shakier.
It’s like a cavity. If you don’t take care of your teeth the way you know you are supposed to, the way your teeth were designed to be cared for, a tiny bit of rot sets in. The longer you ignore that rot, the deeper it goes. The more painful it gets. Eventually you end up with a root canal you never wanted, wondering why you let yourself get that far. All you had to do was floss your darn teeth.
I know this full well. We’ve ended up in that *dentist* chair, trying to let the professional ”fix” it. Not that my selfishness in this area was THE cause, but it was a contributor for sure. God designed intimacy in marriage to make the two become one. To meld our spirits together in beautiful harmony. Selfishness has no place in the marriage bed.
It’s not worth it. Those selfish minutes stolen, to do what? Read a book? Check my phone? Catch up on Facebook? All the while I’m hurting my marriage? Plus, I enjoy being with my husband! Why would I purposefully put off something that I enjoy and that I know is good for my husband, myself, and my marriage? Oh right, selfishness.
So last night, after I put the kids to bed, loaded the dishwasher, and put away that laundry, I climbed in bed and looked back at my husband. I remembered that everything I see around me began with looking into those eyes, and I scooted a little closer.