Unselfishness Is Contagious

Have you ever known of something your spouse wants you to do, but you don’t really want to? It can be anything, in any category.

Think for a minute. Got it?

Now what if you were to go ahead and agree to do that one thing either for them, or with them, whatever it is. Tell them you want to do this because you love them, and it is your desire to make them happy. Or surprise them by doing it, and let them discover you did it on their own.

If they know this is something you really didn’t want to do, but you did it anyway, imagine the love you’ll be showing them–the laying down my life for yours–kind of love.

This is genuine love when we are willing to lay down our wants/needs for the wants/needs of another. When this happens in marriage, your relationship is well on the road to lasting a lifetime.

Try it. Unselfishness is contagious.

In what ways have you loved your spouse in this way? How did they respond?

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12 Responses to Unselfishness Is Contagious

  1. I fully agree from experience. In fact this is true in any relationship based on friendship and love. Thanks!

  2. DAT says:

    Well, this doesn’t always work. After a very busy day my wife wanted to go out to dinner. I said no, I really didn’t want to. She pouted, Later I realized that I really could accommodate her desire and agreed to do so. She responded, no, she really was upset because I did not “want” to go out with her and if I was “accommodating” her she did not want that….

    • Debi Walter says:

      Great comment.
      We’ve had those moments of miscommunication too, unfortunately. That’s why it’s good to have an unselfish mindset before the question is ever asked. If the initial answer given was yes, the evening would have been a success most likely. But not guaranteed. Marriage won’t allow us to develop certain formulas that always work. If this were the case, there would be no need for communication and relationship. Marriage is always growing and changing and the only way to stay engaged is to talk about what works and what doesn’t.

  3. Shannon E says:

    I’m pregnant and oh so tired. My sweet husband has multiple times offered to let me sleep when he really wanted to do other things with me – either work around the house or something fun. It has helped me to feel better during the day and I’ve never felt more loved.

    In return I have been trying extra hard to show him that I love him. Last night I stayed up late helping to look for a missing part to his bike. It did pay off. I think he was pleased that his concern was my concern. Even though I am tired I’m going to try harder to do what he wants sometimes. Thank you for the suggestion!

    • Debi Walter says:

      And God will supply you with the strength to love your spouse in this way. For it glorifies Him greatly when it is in our heart to do something we are lacking the outward strength to do. When it’s out of our weakness, we are more aware than ever of His strength at work in us.
      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts. Very helpful and God-glorifying!
      Blessings to you in your pregnancy.

  4. Danielle says:

    This is a great tip…but kind of hard for me. My husband visualized that when we got married, we would do everything together and be best friends. I appreciate his desire to want to spend so much time with me, but our interests are different with a lot of things, after all we are the opposite sex. I think it is okay to say “You really like doing __________”, but I don’t, so you go ahead and do it and I will go do __________. What are your thoughts on this? In one way, perhaps it is not helping our “oneness” but in another way, I think it is okay for us to each have our own interests?

    • Debi Walter says:


      Of course it’s fine to have your own interests, but they shouldn’t be something you do all the time at the expense of your time together. The best way to work this out is to talk about these expectations, come up with a reasonable plan as to when you can have some alone time to do the things you enjoy and vice versa, and then, plan those special times (more often) where you do things together. Selfishness can cause a great divide in marriage. If one spouse only wants to do what they want then the relationship suffers. We must work to find common ground, and if we don’t have any then we must make it. This takes hard work, yes, but the long-term benefit will be worth it.

      We highly recommend Paul Tripp’s book, What Did You Expect?. This book will help you both in talking about your expectations and how to adjust them in a realistic, healthy way.

      We are confident God will help you and you continue to find the right balance. This struggle is common in marriage, and how you deal with it is vital for your marriage to continue to grow.

      We hope this helps,
      Tom and Debi

      • Danielle says:

        Thanks for your response. We love your blog! We recently moved to Vietnam for my husband’s job, so I think it’s been even more of a challenge the past few months (being away from home and having accessibility to everything we are used to). For example, our favorite thing to do together was to cook dinner and go for an after dinner walk in our peaceful neighborhood in South Florida or spend time at the beach. Now, we live in an apartment in the middle of a city, and have tried the after-dinner walk a few times, but it is just too dangerous (drivers are crazy out here!). Oh how I miss our old neighborhood! We do feel there is a reason we are here, though, and will learn and grow through our experiences here 🙂

      • Debi Walter says:

        Wow, Vietnam. Now that’s a huge adjustment from South Florida, but I love your expectancy of what God will show you both through the experience. Sometimes when we’re in the middle of extreme changes in our marriage, it’s best to be patient, wait and pray as the story unfolds.
        Will you be there long? I will pray for you knowing God is right there leading you both in this unfamiliar world. What an adventure you’ll talk about for the rest of your lives.
        Thanks for sharing,

      • Danielle says:

        It sure is a big change from Ft. lauderdale! Missing it, but I appreciate your encouraging words about being patient. Change is difficult for me, but change is constant! We will be here at least one year; his contract is until April 2013. I have my good days and bad, but just taking the experience one day at a time. Thankful I am still able to read The Romantic Vineyard out here (as the govt. blocks some websites). Will keep reading, thanks Debi!

      • Debi Walter says:


        I can’t tell you how it affects me that you’re grateful to be able to read The Romantic Vineyard and that it is allowed in Vietnam.

        As you are facing this challenging time remember there is hidden joy in every trial we face. The only ones who find it are the ones who humbly ask God to show it to them. I love your blog! I’m looking forward to learning more about Vietnam through your experience there. Sometimes if I look upward and outward instead of inward and downward it helps me see the big picture of what God is doing rather than the littleness of how it is effecting me. I know this is hard. I don’t like change either, but we have a saying around here, “Constant change is here to stay.” And after 34 years of being with Tom I can testify that this is true. God will comfort us, but He won’t necessarily make us comfortable.

        Thank you for joining our Vineyard. I’m so glad to follow your journey and pray for you along the way.


      • Danielle says:

        Thank you so much, Debi! Your words are awesome and spoke to my heart. I’m glad you were able to check out our blog! We try to post about our adventures there at least once a week. Thank you for your prayers as well, we sure can use them out here 🙂

        Enjoy your time with your newest grand-daughter!!


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