4 Signs You're "Couple-Selfish"

Becoming too selfish as a couple, Genesis 2:24
Did you know we can take Genesis 2:24 too far? It happens when we use this verse as an excuse to become "couple-selfish" or overly “couple-centered.”

Some signs that we are a selfish couple:
  1. We no longer have same-sex friendships and are jealous if our spouse does.
  2. We neglect parents, extended family, church and/or community relationships.
  3. We accommodate our spouse's selfishness, jealousy, and/or laziness.
  4. We always put our spouse’s desires above the needs and desires of others.
Marriage is “becoming one” with a purpose, and the purpose is not selfishness, separatism, or isolation. Marriage allows us to bring a complimentary blend of masculine and feminine gifts to everything we do as a couple.

In Part 1 of this series on priorities: A Wheel, Not a List, I wrote about making family an idol, and in Part 2: Needs and Wants, I wrote about our tendency to spoil our children by meeting all of their desires. And in this final post on priorities, I want to address the marriage relationship, partly because I have been guilty of exalting it more highly than I should at times.

Typically, parents understand needs and wants when it comes to their children. We give up our desires for our children’s genuine needs and even for our children's desires when appropriate.

Unfortunately, what we understand with our children, we often ignore with our extended family, parents, friends, church and community.  

In a healthy marriage:
We must guard against selfish desires--constantly indulging our spouse or ourself at the expense of others.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-2:

My husband is my best friend, favorite companion, and most intimate confidant. But we both need to be actively involved in the lives of others, not simply in our "coupleness."

It's all a matter of putting God first and seeking His daily purposes and priorities in our lives and marriages.

* Needs must be handled carefully. Sometimes the needs of a spouse must take a back seat to the more serious or urgent needs of another.


  1. This brings a flood of thoughts for me... You bring up some good points. Are we putting our marriage up like an 'idol' or are we using the gift God gave us (a solid relationship) as a tool in His hand... Hmmmmm.

  2. I struggle with this. My husband and I married young and have been married for 15 years. Our identities are completely entwined. I'm the introvert and he is the extrovert, so it can be hard for me to do things on my own. I've been pushing myself out of my comfort zone this year by becoming more involved in the women's ministries at my church. Whenever I'm tempted to take too much pride in my super strong marriage or the deep and abiding love my husband and I share, or let it get in the way of being an individual servant to Christ, I read Paul's words regarding marriage in 1 Corinthians 7. Marriage, as wonderful and God-pleasing as it can be, can also be too easily made into an idol in our modern culture of Christianity.

    In Christ,

    1. Thanks for sharing your insights, Melissa. I can identify in some ways, Melissa, since I met my husband at 16, married him at 19, and that was 42 years ago. We really "grew up together." But there is nothing wrong with this entwined identity unless we make it exclusive and ignore the needs and desires of others.

  3. I love my husband and really can say that he is my best friend. Although I have had wonderful friends in women, they move away, and are never there for me day in and day out. Who but my husband puts up with the idiosyncrasies of my personality over the years?? I really should email him and tell compliment him by telling him all this :-)

    I enjoyed this post (I enjoyed it being a bit longer ;-) and appreciate you linking up with me over at WholeHearted Home this week. I am thankful that you take the time each week to linkup some of your posts from the week. Really.

  4. This resonates with me in a huge way! We've been married for nearly 17 years. We have symptoms of a selfish couple. I am also a child of a family of six kids and have grown distant from them as well, even though we are only about an hour drive away from 4 of them. I know in my heart they need me as much as I need them. I want to fellowship more at church. Please pray for me.

  5. This was an excellent post! Balance is so important in every area of our lives. Thanks for challenging all of us to not forget to love and serve others as well as our husbands!

  6. One thing I notice is that I meet woman at church, but instead of wanting to be friends with me, they only want to be friends and do things as couples with my husband and I. My husband is introverted and puts forth a lot of physical and mental energy long hours at work. He wants me to have women friends to occasionally do things with, but he is not looking to spend every weekend hanging out with the woman and her husband. I often find that when the expectations of regular "double-dates" doesn't take place, the woman loses all interest in friendship with me as well. I wonder if any one else has had this happen. It seems all the women at my church are only looking for couple friends.

    1. Chrissy,
      You make a good point. I think lack of friendships is a major problem in our culture and in the Church. We are often more interested in television and internet time than developing real relationships with others even though we all need friendships for growth.

      And I agree with you that we need same sex friendships, not just couple friendships. I've experienced difficulty in finding interested women at times myself. I encourage you to ask God to bring someone to mind who you might approach about getting together for prayer and fellowship. And you might even ask Him if there are any single women who you might connect with.

      I think this is an important element of not being too couple-centered.
      Thanks for sharing,


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