Family Magazine

Marriage Mondays-Is It OK to Be Selfish Sometimes?

By Shawndrarussell

She said: When you are part of a relationship, you want to feel like that other person is always taking into account your thoughts, feelings, and wants in every decision and action they make (well, at least I do, and I think many women feel the same way). This weekend, I left at 11am on Friday and returned around 4pm Sunday for a volleyball tournament in Charlotte. Essentially, I had no weekend, and no free time to have fun (coaching is fun for me during the games, but that was only about 6 hours of the entire weekend). So, when I got home Sunday, I wanted to do something FUN, something I wanted to do since my whole weekend was dictated by someone else's schedule. I asked my husband to go on a bike ride, walk, picnic, the beach...something to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Yet, he had just played two flag football games and was sore and stiff. I quickly got my feelings hurt because I thought my wants should take top priority since I worked all weekend while he got to do what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it. Yet, he was tired, cranky, and just not into any of my suggestions. I guess we could both be called selfish in this case because we both wanted to do what we wanted. I wanted to spend time with him doing something fun of my choosing (but I would have been open to suggestions--still wanting the final say though!), and he wanted to lay on the couch and do nothing. He won because he got to lay on the couch, while I went on a solo bike ride and watched a chick flick that he probably would have scoffed at anyway. So, I am still licking my wounds today. I hate Mondays--especially after I didn't even have a weekend AND we aren't getting along :(
He said:  In an ideal world, there would be no room for selfishness.  Some would say that sacrifice is the better teacher because there is a greater life lesson to be learned by denying yourself to satisfy others first.  But let's face it: this is not an ideal world.  This is an age where both spouses work full time jobs, where date nights with friends are almost as important as those with your significant other (almost could be too strong of a word), and where free time is hot commodity.  Balance is the key to stabilize the hectic pace of life that most of us are experiencing, but it also needed when selfishness is involved in a relationship.  For example, when one person is being selfish, there really is not a problem.  If you truly love someone, chances are you are going to oblige them and satisfy that selfish impulse.  The problem lies when both parties are riding on the selfish train.  And worse yet is when you both are riding separate trains that are seemingly going to collide, rather than link up and travel together.  The latter was the case this weekend.  My wife left Friday to go to Charlotte and coach a fourteen year old girl's volleyball team.  She would not return until Sunday afternoon.  To top it off, she had just gone to the doctor and was feeling pretty awful for most her time away form home.  That being said, we initially decided to take it easy when she returned--have dinner, watch a movie, go to bed.  As it turns out, after playing two flag football games on Sunday that schedule was exactly what I needed, too.  I love playing football, but my body hates the aftermath--sore everything.  So, when my wife called me on her way home, she was feeling much better health-wise, and was chomping at the bit to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather.  I'm not going to lie: this caught me off guard, and frankly my legs wanted no part of a bike ride, a drive to the beach, or anything other than some rest and relaxation. I understood that she was cooped up all weekend, dealing with kids, their parents, and illness.  I also understood that I would really not be any fun outside of the couch.  This is where our trains collided.  Normally, we compromise well together.  This was just one of those times where we wanted, and needed, totally different things.  The killer was that we had so much time apart and wanted to be together; however, neither party was willing to agree on how that time was to be spent.  Needless to say, it did not end well.  We spent the rest of Sunday, derailed from each other's company.  I regret the lost time together, especially on the verge of another hectic week; yet, I feel that this was just a stumbling block, and that we will be back on track sooner than later.  

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