Thursday marked 32 years of marriage for my husband and I. To most people, this is a long time. To us it seems that we've been together forever because we are so familiar with each other and yet, it's really hard to believe that we have loved each other exclusively for the past 36 years. My husband is my world. At work I am teased (and I believe secretly envied) because I only have eyes for one man. I think he is the most handsome man in the world and I don't even think about "reading the menu" as they say.
When we go out to dinner, we may be in a public place, but that all seems to fade away as we sit at the table playing with each other's hands and getting lost in discussion and lots and lots of laughter. Invariably the wait staff will comment on how happy we are and how unusual, refreshing and wonderful that is. When we tell them how long we have been married, they are usually pleasantly surprised and curious. And then we are asked "the question." "What is the secret to your marriage success?" Through the years we have answered that question many ways but this year, for us, it all just came down to one word-selflessness.
Our waitress was quite taken aback and speechless when we said "selflessness." She really didn't know what to say. Finally she said, "that's really not what I expected to hear." We went on to explain that when you are selfless, your main concern is the other and while you are busy caring for and sacrificing for them, they are doing the same for you. There are no unrealistic expectations in the relationship and that causes both parties to be happy. "That makes sense" she said. "I never thought about it that way. Thank you!"
You know, Christ was selfless. He permanently laid down parts of His glory that He will never again pick up to come and dwell in human flesh. He was totally under the direction of God, never doing anything unless instructed to first by His Father. Many times he said that he did not come to be served, but to serve. Because he was perfection in human flesh, he had to be the happiest person to ever live. Scripture is clear that anyone who obeys the Lord is happy and blessed. After setting the example of how man can live, He then rose from the dead so that we could do the same. This is the key to not only a happy marriage, but a happy and blessed life. It just makes sense that a person who lives as Christ did would be happy in every area of life, including marriage.
So really, happiness and success in anything in life starts with the individual learning to be selfless before God and anyone else they are in relationship with. Sounds too simple? Not really, although the actual walking out of this is not always easy. Buffeting flesh is not always easy. Dying to our culture's "you're the most important person in your life" philosophy is not easy. We have to swim upstream. Dying on a cross was not easy either but Christ did it because He was selfless and totally devoted to the plan of God and his love for lost humanity.