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Maturity is best defined in the emotional realm as unselfishness. I am sure we could recall times when our children have played up because he/she did not have their way. What do they do? Well, some children ended up wailing, stomped the floors etc. When the children do that, they are revealing their selfishness or immaturity especially when they are much older in age. The attitude of immaturity can be very subtle and difficult for an adult person to recognise and it can prove to be disastrous in a marriage.

When two people come together in marriage, their spirit of selflessness will make it very easy for them to adjust. If both are immature and selfish, there would inevitably be ample “noisy clashes” in the early years of marriage. Marriage is made up of a series of actions and reactions motivated by our conscious and subconscious minds. The potential area of conflict correlates with the activities in marriage. Nevertheless, conflict does not need to be fatal. In fact, conflicts are normal and can add value to the marriage if handled wisely. Couples who are able to work out touchy issues can grow as a result of the disagreements. By God’s grace, a married couple with reasonable maturity can face their areas of conflict, discuss them and resolve them according to God’s ways. Let’s not make it a habit by sweeping conflicts under the carpet. Instead, be encouraged to face them and resolve them in God.In God’s economy, you never get anything by getting/taking. The way to have something is to give it away. If you desire love, it is best to show love to others rather than just look for it. The same is true of thoughtfulness, consideration and selflessness. If we desire our spouse to treat us unselfishly, then, let us be mature enough by the grace of God to also treat our spouse unselfishly.Let us be reminded of Philippians 2:3-4, that says “3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others… 

How then do we overcome selfishness? I believe we can be transformed by the power of God when we choose to cooperate with God on a daily basis. Here are some tips:

  • Face our selfishness as a sin. And sin is displeasing before God and also others. Let us not perpetuate the problem further by rationalising our need to be selfish.
  • Do not hide behind academic or economic success to cover our selfishness. Maturity is relative. A person may be a brilliant professional and leader at work but a selfish overgrown “child” as a spouse at home. Be humble enough to seek for help when we have facing marital issues due to our immaturity.
  • Confess our selfishness as sin. It is not about whether it is a major or a minor sin; all sin is the same before God. Whenever we act selfishly, be sufficiently objective about yourself to confess your sin to our God and be assured of His forgiveness. (1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.)
  • Ask God to remove the habit of selfishness. (1 John 5:14-15 reminds us, This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him). With God’s empowerment and our willingness to go by His ways, I believe we can be transformed from the inside out.
  • Repair the damage caused by our selfishness. Whether our spouse deserves it or not, we need to apologise to whomever we have exhibited our selfishness to, then we will find it easier and easier to avoid selfish behaviour and attitude in the future.
  • Repeat this in our lives till the godly habit of unselfishness and maturity is formed in us. It may become and inspiration for your spouse to mature in other aspects of the marriage as well. Let’s begin with us first!Praying for and with you,

Pastor Lai Ling Lim
Hope Church, Brisbane