God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there.

~ Billy Graham ~

Shared Selfishness

September 26th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 37 secs

Despite appearances, couples can be barely together.

Despite appearances, couples can be barely together.

There’s something gross about excess.  Like when people brandish what they have as a way of saying, “Look up to me and see how important I am”.

If anything, it’s embarrassing, because these people are making themselves look silly. No doubt the Han Christian Anderson story of The Emperor and His New Clothes (and tales like it) say it best, when a king caught in his own vanity is hoodwinked by swindlers, leading him to parade naked and foolish before his subjects.

Just like those in the crowd, we too dare not question the awkward truth. That selfishness and egotism make even the lofty look stupid.

When people let their marriage union steep in self-interest the resulting blend is a kind of shared selfishness. The ego needs of both individuals take precedence, with both parties demanding to be satiated first and foremost.

This emphasis on two separate selves expects double of everything. Symbolically, you can see it in grand scale accommodation offering two separate bedrooms, two independent bathrooms (complete with separate towels), dressing rooms, and so on.

With these expectations, couplehood and togetherness take a backseat to status and individual self-interest. So homes where partners need to share their space are considered pokey, not up to standard, and therefore, unacceptable.

You could explain this away as a cultural issue. But I’m not so sure. Wherever people’s failure to connect at a deep personal level collides with affluence, these kind of “cultural” effects start popping up.

What makes this concerning is not that people have lots of things. But that whenever we use things like this, we end up barricading ourselves in and feeding our own loneliness.

That’s why we cannot afford to feed selfish behaviors in our relationship. As a rule of thumb, anything that pushes our partner away from us deserves reflection. Because demanding enhancements from our partner has nothing to do with being in love, it’s good to ask questions about these added expectations.

As ever, it is good to think about what drives us and why we feel the absolute need to have certain things to be happy. By exploring the motivations behind our wants, selfishness becomes clearer. For when we love enough and with open honesty, many of these self-driven musts also disappear.

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