It’s not sex, or lack thereof. It’s not fights over money or in-laws. It’s not personality conflicts or differing expectations or changes in health. But it’s none of those things that will really destroy your marriage.
It’s what makes most marriages crumble that are affected by the enormous obstacles of domestic violence, addiction, or infidelity, while some similarly affected marriages survive and eventually thrive.
It’s what makes some marriages totally destructive and miserable even though husband and wife still have a ring on their finger.
It’s the one thing God wants to help you eliminate from your marriage so that you and your spouse can live happily ever after.
That ONE thing?
What’s In It For Me?
WIIFM is the deadliest virus that can infect a marriage.
It takes two for a marriage to work. And if either partner is infected with WIIFM it may eventually destroy the marriage. If BOTH husband and wife are free of this deadly disease they can overcome just about any obstacle.
You can’t cure your partner; you can only inspect and eradicate this virus from yourself. Or more correctly, ask God to cure you.
So what about those tricky problems that are normally blamed for destroying a marriage? Here’s what a few of them would look like with and without WIIFM:
Different sexual appetites:
- With WIIFM: the partner with the greater appetite feels rejected and angry, and tries to force his/her spouse into sex on demand. The partner with the smaller appetite withholds sex as a way to punish and control.
- Without WIIFM: the partner with the greater appetite looks for ways to lovingly help his/her spouse respond sexually, and when they can’t, expresses understanding and self-control. The partner with the smaller appetite goes beyond what he/she would normally desire and happily engages sexually whenever physically/emotionally able.
Conflict over money:
- With WIIFM: husband and wife both try to hide money and financial decisions from each other, and manipulate purchases, spending, or saving in a way that benefits them personally at the expense of the other.
- Without WIIFM: husband and wife communicate honestly about money, make decisions jointly for the benefit of the marriage as a whole, and contribute the maximum effort they can to the financial stability of the family.
- With WIIFM: the “abuser” wields his (or her) power harshly and indiscriminately, using their spouse for their own benefit and physically, emotionally, or sexually harming the other when their own desires are not met. The “abusee” may attempt to manipulate and control the other, provoking anger and retaliation.
- Without WIIFM: the “abuser” commits to stopping the cycle of abuse, takes responsibility, and does whatever it takes to change – not in words, but in actual practice. The “abusee” stops any provoking behavior, and commits to self-growth – not in words, but in actual practice.
Note: I do not believe there is EVER an excuse for violence. I am only pointing out that often there are destructive behaviors on both sides.
At whatever stage of marriage you are, be alert for the WIIFM virus. Remember, it takes BOTH partners doing this for the marriage to work.
If WIIFM is gone, you can overcome any marriage problem.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Your Turn: What would happen to the problems in your marriage if both you and your spouse were free of WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Leave a comment below.
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