Nearly every married person has asked this question. The undeniable path to a successful marriage is the vital decision to "die to self." This is the most challenging decision any married person can make. We are conditioned by our sinfulness and society around us to fight for what we want. In fact, getting what we want becomes the unspoken yardstick for our satisfaction in marriage. If we are getting what we want, life is good. If not, we pout, payback and persecute our spouse to make sure they know how unhappy we are.
The problem is, your marriage will NOT improve by taking. You must decide to be a giver. The problem with choosing to be a giver is our selfishness does not simply evaporate, so we struggle the entire way and usually end up asking this question..."What if I give and they don't?"
There is no doubt this is a dilemma of relationships that none of us can avoid. Hear me clearly - there will be times when you give and your spouse doesn't. But remember, those tables can be turned at anytime. I have yet to meet a couple that is perfectly balanced in their giving. Selfishness is a nasty animal living within us. It takes constant work to "die to self." The fact that you will, at times, give with nothing in return only underscores the truest heart of love...giving with no strings attached. I know, this doesn't lessen the pain or frustration, but you have few options. The temptation is to hold back your giving (which is really holding back love) until your spouse starts to give; however, this is a selfish response only driving your spouse further from you. Selfishness simply doesn't work. Just think about it, would you be motivated to give to your spouse because they have been withholding love from you? No, the only option is a die-hard commitment to give. Love is not a feeling, a theory or a mindset...love is a CHOICE. The choice to give even when you get nothing in return. When we love like that, it's the closest thing to God's love we can produce, and it's the only possible path to positive change in marriage.