The lack of self-control exhibits itself before a child can talk, but it doesn’t take too many months before we hear: “I want to eat NOW!” “MINE!” “I want that for ME!” Every parent, aunt, uncle, pre-school teacher and even grandparent has watched little children exhibit self-centered, me-first, impatient behavior.
As adults, we see children behave without self-control and think, “When they’re mature like us they won’t act like that.” But many marriages flounder and fail because the “adults” have never matured in their ability to have self-control. The marriage is made of children in adult bodies.
Why Self-Control Matters
Living without self-control is like an athlete who never denies themselves in order to train. You’ll never achieve your goal of a Christ-honoring, intimate, mutually fulfilling marriage unless you choose self-control and grow to maturity.
Maturity has been defined as the ability to put off short-term gains for long-term benefits. Self-control not only enables us to acquire the greater long-term benefits, but it leads to maturity in our marriage.
God promises that one of the evidences of His work in our lives is self-control. He offers us the inner working of His Spirit to empower us, prompt us, and guide us. It’s our failure to choose to cooperate with Him that leads to marital infancy and disaster.
Where do you struggle with self-control? Here are some things to consider:
- Do you let your thoughts run free? Do images of lust and former relationships race through your mind unchecked? Is your mind allowed to feed on things which inject impurity into your thoughts (porn, fantasy—“50 Shades…,” etc.)?
- Do you allow your words and tone of voice to communicate messages that tear your spouse down or control them?
- Do you choose to think the worst of your spouse’s motives and intentions? Do you focus on their faults?
- Do you over-eat? Over-drink? Over-spend? Over-work?
- Do you under-exercise and need to pursue better health for your spouse?
Whatever your key area of challenge is in self-control, confess it to God and ask for His help in empowering you to have self-control in that area. Ask daily. Ask hourly. Partner with His Spirit and you WILL see victory!
Build Your Marriage to Maturity
Every marriage—including ours—has experienced the pain of being relational infants. But pursuing maturity in your marriage is worth it as you grow in God-empowered self-control!
- As you practice self-control FOR your spouse, you will fall more deeply in love WITH your spouse!
- You will be modeling Jesus’ self-sacrificing love to your spouse.
- You will be on the path to building your legacy through your marriage.
- You will honor Jesus and reflect His love to the world through your marriage.
- You will protect your marriage from being damaged or destroyed by self-centeredness.
And you will honor Jesus as you treasure His gift to you of your spouse as you build your marriage!