Love is Not Selfish

Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

It should go without saying that love isn’t selfish but the way many people approach love is completely selfish.  When looking for a potential mate (or just a date) the criteria that we often make are superficial.  Things such as looks or sense of humor aren’t selfish in and of themselves but when they serve as motivation for being with somebody it quickly becomes about self.  “Do I feel more important because I’m with someone good looking?”  “Do they make me feel happy by laughing?”

After the dating game is over, there is still a lot of selfishness in relationships.  Sometimes this comes in the form of laziness and expecting our spouse to do everything for us.  Other times we expect constant gifts from our spouse or we consider it proof that they don’t really love us.

To paraphrase President Kennedy’s famed speech, true love does not ask what our significant other can do for us.  It asks what we can do for our significant other.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see what selfishness can do to a relationship.  Selfishness makes a relationship one sided.  And a one sided relationship isn’t really a relationship.

You might be thinking that you’re in a one sided relationship and wonder how you can get your spouse to stop being so selfish.  But that isn’t the issue.  Love doesn’t do things because of what it receives in return.  If you love someone, you do so not because of anything that they may or may not do in return for you.  This means that you just continue to love and give regardless of what you may receive back.

The principle of sacrificial giving does come into play however.  You shouldn’t love with the expectation of receiving love in return.  But if you love unselfishly odds are that you’ll eventually receive some of that love back.  But even if you don’t, being unselfish means that you just keep on loving regardless of what you receive back.

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