THE BEST KEPT SECRET!
By: Jeff Perkins
I cannot express in words how proud I am of my daughter Amanda for the beautiful, inside and out, young woman she has turned into. The choices she is making in her life on a daily basis in the midst of her challenges and struggles, have inspired me to a more passionate pursuit of Jesus. It is an honor for me to be asked to write this blog for her.
May 21, 1983 was one of the most exciting days of my life. It was the day I stood in front of a packed church and in front of God, our families and friends, looked straight into the eyes of the most beautiful woman in the entire world and I lied. That’s right I lied. I repeated all the vows, I answered, “I do” to all the questions, we exchanged rings, we kissed and were pronounced husband and wife, but it was really a big lie.
Oh, it wasn’t a well thought out, planned and explicit lie. It was much more subtle, covert, and hidden. In fact, I am pretty sure that I was the only one aware of the deception. But I do believe I am safe in saying that the chicanery I pulled off on my wedding day is one that is perpetuated in wedding ceremonies across the country on a regular basis.
So, what was the lie? The lie, the ruse, the sham I carried out on my wedding day was this: everybody at the wedding thought we were getting married to be a team, to work together, to share our lives, to meet each others needs, and to be dependent upon one another. However, the truth was, at least in my mind, that this relationship, this marriage, this blending of the two lives into one was really all about this one: THIS ONE BEING ME. In other words, I was marrying my wife so that she could primarily meet my needs, be there for me, take care of me, serve me, get on my agenda, and skip to my beat. Our theme song would be: WE DID IT MY WAY!!!
Now, make no mistake about it, I would have never admitted how selfish I was to anyone, not even myself. In fact, don’t laugh out loud yet, I considered myself to be a pretty good guy. In my mind my wife was getting a good deal. I figured I was decent looking, fairly nice, likeable and kind of humble. Sidebar: when you think you are kind of humble you are in major denial, full of pride and ready for a fall. Well, all three of those things were true in my life and in my marriage.
The fact of the matter is that for most of the almost 30 years Kathy and I have been married I have been selfish. It has all been primarily about me. My career, my agenda, my plans, my desires, my needs have come first in just about everything we have done.
Now ask me the Dr. Phil question: “How has that worked for you Jeff?” It hasn’t. It doesn’t. And it never will! My selfishness has resulted in pain, heartache, disappointment, and distance. And guess what? Selfishness always does. Think about it. Who among us ever want to move closer, become more intimate, loyal and dedicated to someone who is self-centered and always looking out for number one!
Selfishness never works because it is ultimately not the way God intended for marriage, or any relationship for that matter, to work. In fact, the exact opposite is true. God says the recipe for success in marriage is not found in being selfish, but being selfless; is not found in maneuvering and manipulating to be served, but in looking for ways to serve.
Jesus said it like this: “Whoever wishes to save his life (look out for #1) will lose it, but whoever loses his life (puts others first) will find it” (Mark. 10:45). My paraphrase of this verse for marriage or any other relationship goes like this: “If you are always looking to put yourself first, you will never find fulfillment; but if you put your spouse, or significant other first, and always seek to serve them, then you will find deep satisfaction and contentment.
I guess what I have used a ton of words to say is this: it has taken me 30 years to realize that the “secret” to a great marriage or relationship is really no “secret” at all. The way to a woman’s heart is to serve her, put her first, build her up, and seek to help her become everything God created her to be. And guys please take it from a man who has had to learn the hard way, when you serve her and put needs ahead of your own, she responds with more love, grace, mercy, respect, and passion than you ever dreamed would be possible, even in your most selfish of dreams!
My challenge to every man out there is this: begin today to put the needs of the woman in your life ahead of your own. But remember this: you can’t truly serve her, unless you first of all are serving him (Jesus)! Think about that!!!