I got punched in the gut a few days ago. Not by some thug on the street or by one of my four boys, but by this line: "I never realized how selfish I was until I got married. I never realized how angry I was until I had kids." I don't know who first said this, but a truer statement about marriage and family may not exist.
Marriage Reveals Our Selfishness
The first time I heard about the idea of marriage revealing my selfishness was when I read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I should have known about the role my selfish tendencies would play in marriage, but after you say "I do" you realize the overwhelming truth behind this statement. Instead of saying, "How can I help you?" we find ourselves saying, "How can I get my way?" Marriage gives us many opportunities to conflict over the battle between the selfish desires of a husband and wife.
James 4:1 says, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" (ESV).
We fight and quarrel because we are selfish, because of the passions at war within each of us. It's not because of something my spouse did. It's not because of my children. It's not money, in-laws or work. It's because I want something and I don't get my way, so I throw a fit like a child.