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I cannot tell you how important it is for husbands and wives to regularly put their needs aside and focus on serving their spouse in one way or another. Marriage is about giving of yourself and supporting your spouse. The bond that occurs when two selfless people are giving of themselves and trying to make their spouse happy is incredible. Selfishness in marriage often leads to emotional and/or sexual affairs, addictions, intense communiation problems, and distance between spouses. Selfless love is needed if a marriage is going to last.
 

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I respectfully disagree. It is absolutely impossible to take ones “self” out of any transaction in life. Our “self” always exists and it will always exist until we’re 6ft under the grounder or a bunch of ashes. And because of that self-less acts are an absolute impossibility.

In my mind it is far better to be truly aware of what our values and beliefs and true motivations are for doing something and identify and define “what’s in it for me, what do I get out of this?” because that’s a self-aware and an open and realistic approach to life’s transactions.

People from Hitler to Mother Theresa all did things for their own self-ish reasons, they could never take their “self” out of any of their transactions, who can? So sure we are all self-ish people. The difference between people like Hitler and Mother Theresa are their values and beliefs, their motivations and they are either good or bad.

You’ve started this thread for self-ish reasons and you’ll know what those reasons are. Try taking your “self” out of this thread, you’ll find that an absolute impossibility.

Bob
 

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Bit of a challenge for you Brian. Two things 1) how would you describe “Selfless Love” and 2) can you give three examples of selfless acts.

My motivation is that I could well be wrong in my belief that selflessness does not exist and I’m always willing to learn, getting ready for my next relationship.

Bob
 

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But isn't that how abusers manipulate to get the upper hand?
Taking advantage of spouses who believe just that, and continue to do it, thinking it will get them the same in return, eventually, some day, (just like a slot machine always pays out)? Where is all this love and devotion supposed to come from, when the well runs dry and there is nothing left to give and the person ends up just a shell, devoid of anything inside they could call their own to give in the first place?
 

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I think each partner must be selfless in giving the other partner what they need. But, each partner must be selfish by expecting that their needs will be met.

When it's all about "giving" and not about "getting", funny things happen. For example, let's say I decide I am only going to "give" my wife what she needs and be completely selfless and not at all selfish. She could say "I need to not have so much sex". Therefore, under your model, I have to selflessly accept it. And guess what, I become miserable and the marriage falls apart.

Under a giver / taker type model, the situation would be different. If my wife tried to trade on my selflessness and say she did not want so much sex, I would say that is a core need of mine and that each of us has to meet the core needs of the other for the marriage to function. I would offer to step up and meet any needs that she has that I am lacking but I would not selflessly walk away from my needs. And in this model, the marriage does last.
 

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Selflessness is impossible since the very act of giving gives us pleasure. This works when both parties are "givers".

In my case I was a giver(still am) and my STBXW is a selfish taker. After awhile as a previous poster mentioned, the well runs dry and we become empty shells since out needs were not met.
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In my case, my being too "selfless" cause her to treat me with disdain and suspicion. My acts of service caused her to accuse me of trying to make her feel guilty, or purely for sex.

What needs to happen is to man, or woman up, set boundaries and communicate effectively. Those rules can resolve most problems but not all.
 

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Bit of a challenge for you Brian. Two things 1) how would you describe “Selfless Love” and 2) can you give three examples of selfless acts.
For me it is often the small things. I hate red beans and rice. I make red beans and rice because HE likes them. I want him home with me. I suggest he grab a friend and go hiking.

For bigger things, I KNOW what I want. But I have to spend effort to understand what he wants. I intuit my love language. I have to think and put effort into speaking his love language. I know my communication style. I have to think to be effective at his communication style...
 

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It is a balancing act between giving everywhere you can, and setting limits and enforcing them on your core values.
 

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I completely agree that, ideally, love needs to involve selflessness. The detractors point to abusers exploiting this ideal. That's not selflessness at all. Selfless service assumes both parties are primarily attending to the others' needs. Love is vulnerability and evil people will always exploit the vulnerable. That doesn't mean love or vulnerability is wrong. That just means there are sick people in the world and we should be careful about whom we latch onto.
 

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I cannot tell you how important it is for husbands and wives to regularly put their needs aside and focus on serving their spouse in one way or another. Marriage is about giving of yourself and supporting your spouse. The bond that occurs when two selfless people are giving of themselves and trying to make their spouse happy is incredible. Selfishness in marriage often leads to emotional and/or sexual affairs, addictions, intense communiation problems, and distance between spouses. Selfless love is needed if a marriage is going to last.
I agree with this for the most part but I can see where AFEH is coming from also in his 1st post. .....as people can go through the motions of acting selfless/giving when thier heart is not into something, or they are trying to gain something else (NICE GUY SYNDROME -doing acts of service to get more sex).

If the selflessness is not accompanied with an attitude of love & giving in itself for it's own pleasure, desiring to solely please your spouse because it also FULLFILLS YOU in doing so , then it would be worthless to me personally -frankly, I would divorce someone who only lived for me, to keep me happy but he rarely got JOY out of it or it was not pleasureable to him also. I would find it utterly boring- a robot mentality to "keep vows'.


I came to the realization a while ago, that in the bedroom , I do not want all selfLESSness on the part of my partner , I want a SELFISH DESIRE coming from him, that is what PASSION is made of, so a little selfishness is GOOOOOD. I think most men would die for that in their wives, not just her selflessly being receptive to his advances, but feeling a selfish lust from her that she NEEDS him and wants him now! Being selfish in these things can also mean desiring to please. I would say I SELFISHLY want to turn my husband on so we can have great sex! And he is happy that I feel that way-- if I was doing it "just to please him", it would loose some of it's allure. But sure, sometimes he goes along for the ride, and sometimes I do -but the best times are when we both selfishly want it !


I NEED to be who I am , flaws and all sometimes , not putting myself down at every turn, I want the same from my husband.

Even if a little selfishness causes some fights once in a while, so what! Then we get to have great make up sex! A little turbulance can be just what is needed to spark things up. We are not denying who we are, luckily we have enough in common to overcome all of our squabbles -and we can even laugh about them afterwards, sometimes almost falling on the floor.

I could not be with someone who had TOO many differences than me, I think it could lead to some resentment. Too much of a tendency to either become a #1 doormat or #2 just going through the motions-devoid of feeling.

I am all of the belief that we need to be VERY CAREFUL to marry someone with similar love languages in a similar order, temperments that compliment each other, similar beliefs/morals, marital goals, ideas on $$, sex, raising kids & always communicating, possesing a listening ear & understanding & forgiving heart.

The more you got going on here - chances are the less you will have to put yourself down for the other, less of an uphill battle in marital compatability --GIVING BECOMES EASY and you want to do it -you will find you naturally appreciate the other & desire to love them the way they want to be loved, even with their flaws and a little selfishness along the way.

When you have much of this in common, you selfishly enjoy pleasing your partner >> now their is an attitude to catch , but for me to call myself selfless in that, it is a bit of a lie, cause it is seriously not even putting myself down !
 

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I think the problem with many people is that they give with expectations. Until you can give without expecting something in return this will never work. You will eventually feel slighted because relationships are rarely equally balanced.
 

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I think the problem with many people is that they give with expectations. Until you can give without expecting something in return this will never work.
I agree with this. The thing is, giving without expecting often yields the positive feelings in the other that makes them also want to give back.
 

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I always thought of my husband and his happiness. What I got back in return was abuse. While at the time I felt loving and considerate and patient, patient, patient, always giving him the benefit of the doubt, complete trust...in the end I was a doormat. You would think that a person would treat someone who loved them with kindness or at least respect, but that is not what I received in return. I didn't expect it, the giving was good for me, but on the other hand, when there are negative consequences to the giving and selfless loving and acts of kindness and regard, then you have to realize that you are better off not doing all that giving. At what point does inequality in the giving equation tip the scales to abuse? Not only did he walk all over me, he allowed other people that were his friends and acqaintances to abuse me and walk all over me, I said nothing because I did not want to disrupt his friendships. I really don't see how all this giving did anything good for me, except to realize how abusive a person he really is. It's one thing to not give back or to have another love language, but when the spouse is abusive emotionally, verbally, physically, please don't tell me it's on account of a lack of giving and the person on the end of the hurtful stuff simply isn't giving 'correctly' or 'selflessly' or that their 'expectations are wrong'.
 

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I agree with this. The thing is, giving without expecting often yields the positive feelings in the other that makes them also want to give back.
Exactly! By nature I'm a taker so when I did give it was only because I wanted something. It wasn't sincere and he knew that. Now that I get this I can give freely without expectations. And now he is starting to be inspired to meet my needs as well.

This was a hard concept for me to get btw. Kind of like definition of insanity was I kept doing the same things over and over but expecting different results. Never worked.
 

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When someone is abusive, the only thing it's an indication of is that they're an insecure jerk. People are solely responsible for their own evil acts. In a perfect world, severely evil people would be branded prominently or exterminated. We do neither so, naturally, decent people are going to be victimized by them. The responsibility is not on the victim.
 

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Exactly! By nature I'm a taker so when I did give it was only because I wanted something. It wasn't sincere and he knew that. Now that I get this I can give freely without expectations. And now he is starting to be inspired to meet my needs as well.

This was a hard concept for me to get btw.
Amen, sister. It took some serious dope slapping to get that through to me.

Kind of like definition of insanity was I kept doing the same things over and over but expecting different results. Never works.
Double amen, sister.
 

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I completely agree that, ideally, love needs to involve selflessness. The detractors point to abusers exploiting this ideal. That's not selflessness at all. Selfless service assumes both parties are primarily attending to the others' needs. Love is vulnerability and evil people will always exploit the vulnerable. That doesn't mean love or vulnerability is wrong. That just means there are sick people in the world and we should be careful about whom we latch onto.
Surely to continue giving “selfless service” a person needs a return of “selfless service”, both partners attending to the other’s needs. Otherwise they will stop giving.

This is like the tennis analogy. If we keep hitting the ball over the net and it doesn’t come back we get pretty tired of the game and stop hitting the ball over the net, because we’re not getting anything back.

So to get selfless service they give selfless service. So it’s not selfless service at all. It is though selfish service, giving with the expectation of something in return.
 

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I think both should be willing and prepared to carry all the water for the relationship temporarily when required, but only a masochist would accept that as a permanent lifestyle.
 
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