Selfishness and Selflessness, neither are healthy or God’s design. Would you agree?

    I tend to be taking those of you who stick it out enough to read my often lengthy posts, through the things that are challenging me in the Passion Pursuit study 😉


    Here’s the thought that challenged me, though it is geared towards a wife, I believe it can be applied to a husband as well:

    • Many women struggle with the challenge of considering and valuing their husband’s needs.  Their natural bent is to be selfish.  Other women go to the opposite extreme and their entire approach to sex is about meeting their husband’s needs and ignoring their own.  As altruistic as this may sound, it’s not a healthy or biblical perspective.  In fact, a wife who is completely selfless will create and enable selfishness in her husband.”  –from “Passion Pursuit”

    Ouch.  I can see how when I was convicted of my selfishness, I swung as far away as I could from it, because in no way or form did I want to go back to my “old me”, and I did fall into that “selflessness”, but when there was something in me that fought against it, rather than seeing that “fight” being a good thing trying to take us to a healthy and holy balance, I assumed it was more of my “selfishness” rising up in me.  I have seen first hand the truth of this and the damage it can do.  (This is actually quite freeing!)

    Their biblical backing for this is Philippians 2:4, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”


    What are your thoughts?  Do you agree with that quote?  Why or why not?  Do you have any experience you would like to share?



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    8 Answer(s)

      I agree with the quote. A“healthy and holy balance” is the key. A one sided relationship is certainly not balanced in a healthy way. In my opinion it creates suppressed stress that will eventually be manifested in an unhealthy way. It surely enables selfishness.

      Fell out of ... Answered on October 18, 2019.
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        I completely agree with the quote. Both extremes of selfishness and selflessness are components of codependency. Either state can lead to a misguided sense that people around us cannot thrive without us. Not only is that a false idol, but it can cause the people around us to stop growing as we do everything for them.

        Not to mention, extreme selflessness is unhealthy. If you constantly value others above yourself, you can end up with horrible self esteem and a lack of awareness of your own, God-given strengths. Obviously, we want to be giving of ourselves, but not to the extent that it takes from our own growth and health. As it’s been explained to me, if you don’t take care of yourself, you will never be able to take care of others. It’s like when flight attendants tell adults to ensure that their own oxygen masks are secure before checking their children.

        All things in moderation!

        Been There, Done That, Bought the T-shirt. 😉

        Under the stars Answered on October 18, 2019.
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          I am struggling through this concept currently. How much do I take off of Wifey’s plate while she is working through her mental health issues? It varies from day to day depending on what she is able to do. I struggle with balance as I’m trying to show her love, keep our home functioning, stay focused at work, take care of Wifey and the kids, and somehow take care of myself.

          My guiding principles are to love her as Christ loves the church, and to take up the cross of my desires daily. I struggle with thinking that Jesus had the benefit of his divine nature and followers that cared for his needs, while I’m on my own crying out to God for rest, healing, and restoration.

          I’ve come to the same realization that complete selflessness is a recipe for disaster. It causes burnout, emotional distance, and failure to accomplish the task at hand in a gracious and loving manner.

          Fell out of ... Answered on October 19, 2019.

          This is such a hard place to be. I do know that there are different times throughout a marriage where one spouse has to carry more weight than the other, and it will change back and forth between the two.

          on October 20, 2019.
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            I agree with the quote.

            Being overly selfless with a spouse is like having a  neighbor who does a lot for you, but will not allow you to do nice things for them.  It is awkward, and denies you the joy of giving.  When it comes to sex, most people get joy out of fulfilling their spouses needs.

            Plus, it is not selfish to want, seek, and accept what is needed to fulfill the  desires that God created in us. Doing so only becomes selfish if we refuse to fulfill the needs God created in our spouse.



            King bed Answered on October 19, 2019.
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              Added questions:  How do you find the balance between the two?  How do you know when you are leaning too far to one of the sides?

              Under the stars Answered on October 19, 2019.
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                I would agree with that quote.  The issue for me is where is the line.  If I desire something that my DW doesn’t it is an automatic fall back to feeling like I am being selfish and when I am not noticing what she wants and just processing on my desires am I then also being selfish.  I guess I would be to a point but communication is key.  She needs to communicate to me what her desires are and vice versa instead of just expecting each other to automatically know what the other wants.  I am in the process of learning this and I pray down the road the two of us can see the fruits of it.

                Double bed Answered on October 20, 2019.

                You’ll see fruits if you continue to be intentional and work. I do believe “understanding” one’s self and the other is right up there on importance with “communicating”, one has to be able to verbalize what one actually needs, and a “why” behind it is better, so that true communication actually happens.

                on October 20, 2019.
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                  Years ago I read in a Christian marriage advice book (don’t remember which one) that during sex we are each responsible for our own pleasure (essentially, we should be “selfish”). The theory went that we should pay attention to the pleasure that our spouse’s body gives us, and then pursue that pleasure with enthusiasm, thereby providing pleasure for our spouse as a matter of course. For example, (and I actually experienced this to some degree) when a woman begins focusing on just how pleasurable it is to lick and suck and kiss her husband’s penis, maybe noting the feel of his skin on her tongue, the interesting sensation of swirling her tongue around the tip, or the heat of his testicles; and pays attention to the pleasure that action produces in her body, like when she’s on her knees and arches her back, causing a pleasant stretch in the abdomen that reaches to the vulva…when that happens, she will begin to go after these pleasures more aggressively and next thing you know, the husband is enjoying mind-blowing oral sex–because the wife went after her own pleasure.

                  I think maybe this is a case where being too un-selfish is actually selfish, just like being too “loving” can actually be un-loving. In short, yes:  balance is key.

                  Under the stars Answered on October 20, 2019.
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                    I think I understand the quote and agree to a point. But this part of the quote is stated too strongly for me:
                    In fact, a wife who is completely selfless will create and enable selfishness in her husband.” 
                    I would change “will” to might or may. For instance, some husbands, (unless we really are by far the most sinful of the two genders!), might also be selfless and even as selfless as his wife. I’m not sure matching selflessness would create and enable selfishness in such a case. Nor would it necessarily be so only in him.

                    I agree with the point Duchess made can also be true. Now if both DW and DH are that intent on doing things so well, it might be inverted selfishness to the point that we are experiencing mutual generosity! Might that be possible?

                    Under the stars Answered on October 20, 2019.
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