In Who’s Targeting Your Marriage? I brought up the idea that our marriages have a target on their back because they are important to God’s kingdom. As this series continues, I’m addressing the five ways Satan gets a foothold in our marriage, and how he saunters into our bedroom – sometimes with our inadvertent permission.
For the last four years I’ve had my own business. I’ve worked intimately with dozens of women, and I’ve stood before hundreds more to encourage, accessorize, and train. When you work with women, you learn pretty quickly that women have a terrible tendency to obsess over what others think of them. I have been guilty of this too. You should see how many outfit and shoe options I can go through before I select the outfit that seals the impression I’m trying to make. When women I work with are insecure (this is more often than not), I remind them that others are typically so concerned with themselves that they fail to notice what’s around them. That’s great news when you’re convincing a woman that no one’s going to notice her love handles, but the dynamic changes a bit when two people in a marriage are too busy thinking about themselves.
Philippians 2:3-4 tells us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Instead, we are to be humble and value others above ourselves, not looking to our own interests, but to the interests of others. How does that make you feel? Does it prick your spirit a bit? It does mine. I have struggled my entire life with selfishness. Until I had children, it was all about me. I could be intolerable. In truth, I’m thankful for the dark days of our past when I was forced to get over myself and look first to God, and then around me to realize I wasn’t really all that great. I’m greater now that God is driving this balancing act of imperfection and perfect grace. I’m not suggesting you’re full of yourself, but you might be looking inward more than you’re looking outward, and this can impact the stability of your marriage.
I struggle do this day with selfish ambition. My husband reminds me at times that he feels like he sometimes doesn’t make my To Do list. Don’t take that literally, ladies. This isn’t THAT kind of blog. What I mean is that sometimes I’m thinking so far in advance of all I want to do – even in my ministry for God – that my husband can get my leftovers. I’m thankful he is open and capable of reminding me. But what if he wasn’t? What if your husband is silent over his concerns about his place on your priority list?
What does selfish ambition look like and how is it getting in the way of your marriage? Selfish ambition for each of us will look as different as our favorite Starbucks drink. Here are a few examples to consider as you look into your own heart:
- Is it spending too much time binging on Netflix while your spouse is left alone?
- Is it stealing away on the weekends to go shopping?
- Is it an obsession with excelling in your career?
- Is it focusing so much on your children that your husband is waiting for his turn?
Ambition on its own is not a negative. It becomes a negative when it affects those who require more from us.
Our selfish ambition affects our heart, our time, our finances, and our family. When our ambition drives us beyond where we’re meant to me – and that will be different for each of us – Satan will gladly step in to fill the void.
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