Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's All About Me!

At the beginning of the summer, I stumbled into this blog post from ScaryMommy, a link on BlogFrog. It was sarcastically poking fun at the other blog post by Courtney.

To summarize, in case you don't want to click over to the blog posts, the blog post by Courtney was issuing a "Summer Marriage Challenge", which I tried to follow until I got sick with the pregnancy and couldn't function normally. Basically the challenge involved doing things for your husband to put his needs (and wants) first, before your own. Pray for him, even fast for him, ask him what his needs are, ask him what his goals are for the family, show him you love him by doing things for him and focusing on him for the summer rather than yourself. In all the literature I've read on marriage, both LDS and not, one huge key to a long, happy marriage is putting the other person before yourself; in other words, being unselfish.

I had left a comment on ScaryMommy's post defending Courtney's point of view on it because so many others were leaving comments that they would never do that, how old-fashioned, how backwards, etc., etc. The one that particularly irked me was the comment left by someone saying she was Mormon and would never consider doing such a thing, it was so backwards.

Because I left a comment, that triggered an email system where I get emailed every time someone else has left a comment after mine. So I've been getting emails from ScaryMommy's blog all summer, probably in the hundreds because so many comments were left on that post.

This is the most recent comment that was left, which I received in an email on Friday:

Personally, I have a major problem with putting "another person’s needs before [one's] own." And thankfully, I live with someone who has the same policy. If I'm not happy, then my boyfriend won't be happy either. That goes both ways. All each person can do is fix their own crap in their head (and yes, we all have some of it in there) and work on fulfilling their own needs. Trying to please someone all the time else will only lead to trouble...and major unhappiness.

Really? What is so wrong with trying to put another person's needs before your own? Perhaps if more people did that, there would be less hatred in the world and more love. More peace and less war. More marriages might last and the divorce rate might go down. Not that there is never a justifiable cause for divorce, because there certainly is, but if everyone (including me) was less selfish and focused on putting the other person before themselves, the love would increase. It's not about "trying to please someone all the time". It's about looking outside yourself and focusing on someone else for once.

After I read this comment (I actually haven't read most of them, just pressed delete upon seeing the email in my inbox), I was disgusted that this is the mentality of so many people out in the world. No wonder there is so much divorce, anger, rage, bullying, etc.

Of course, I have my own vices in this area, as many of you know. Which is why I felt that Courtney's challenge was a good one. I recognize the need for selflessness. It is hard to do because we are, by nature, selfish people. But it blows me away to realize that so many people are so against being unselfish toward their partner. I'd like to check back in 15 years to all these people who left similar comments and see if their marriages are still intact. That would be an interesting survey anyway. And after reading that comment and realizing that I wasn't doing a very good job and being unselfish, I decided I need to do better. I don't want to fall into that category. I have been taught all my life the right way to treat other people, especially my spouse, and I need to be better. That comment was a slap in the face to me.


Christian and Tiffany said...

Jenna, that comment also "blew me away". It truly is sad when someone will validate and defend their selfishness, how embarrasing! I KNOW THAT I FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF WHEN I DO MORE FOR OTHERS IN GENERAL, BUT EXPECIALLY MY SPOUSE!
Just my personal experience.

swedemom said...

After reading the snarky blog post and subsequent "I am a feminist and only think of myself" comments, I agree with you that this explains the divorce rate, lack of peace and general disturbance in our culture.
I have found in my marriage that when I think more of the interests of my husband, he responds in kind and we have a lot of trading back and forth. My needs are usually met in this matter and often in ways that far exceed the initial need.
I think every man wants his wife to love, respect and value him and thinking of his needs is the perfect way to show that.

PC said...

I wonder if that woman had any kids with her boyfriend.

Isn't it interesting how parenting often demands placing others' needs (typically our children's) ahead of our own?

Royalbird said...

What's also interesting that I thought of later is that if a man is selfless and serving to his wife in this manner, we all think, that's so wonderful, but when a woman does it, she's seen as subservient and old-fashioned.


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