I recently came across a Huffington Post article that was published last year. It was about a woman from North Dakota who supposedly married herself.
Her name was Nadine Schweigert. She was 37 years old and, yes, there was a ceremony with friends and family in attendance. All of them were encouraged to “blow kisses to the world” after she exchanged rings with her “inner groom.”
She said, "Six years ago I would've handled a problem by going out and drinking," "I smoked, I was 50 pounds overweight ... this is just celebrating how far I've come in my life."
Schweigert (do you call her “Mr. & Mrs.?) said she came up with the idea through a friend. "I was waiting for someone to come along and make me happy," Schweigert said. "At some point, a friend said, 'Why do you need someone to marry you to be happy? Marry yourself.'"
You know, there are a lot of people out there in the same shoes as Nadine Schweigert. They may not be marrying themselves, but they are waiting for other people to come along and make them happy. That is the way a lot of people look at relationships.
While her marrying herself is a bit bizarre—and likely blasphemous—I’m actually glad for her honesty. She expresses what most people actually believe, but won’t say. When it comes to relationships, most people have a rather selfish attitude. They are seeking their own gain; their own pleasure; their own benefit; rather than the welfare of their spouse.
But that’s not the way relationships are to operate. A marriage is to be based on love. And one of the facets of love is that it “seeketh not its own.” That’s what Paul says in this passage in 1 Corinthians. As Paul unfolds the characteristics of love he says, that it is patient, it is kind, it is not arrogant or rude. And then he says that love seeketh not its own.
Of course, this does not mean that we set aside all of our needs and destroy all regard for ourselves. It’s talking about the excessive focus on yourself. What Paul is aiming at is that overly self centered attitude that we each have by virtue of our fallen nature.
I actually like some of the nuances of the original language. The word for “seek” here could actually be translated “worship.” That, I think, really helps us to understand what God wants out of our relationships. “Love worships not its own.” Or, to put it another way, “Love renounces self worship.”
You know, when you worship something, you are seeking it with a tenatious passion. Every ounce of your being is focused on that one thing, and nothing else. When you go to church to worship God, you are seeking to focus on Him and nothing else. You are seeking on his glory, his word, his praise.
Paul wants us to understand that each of us has our own little cult. We worship ourselves. You might say that we put the “I” in idolatry. We are always seeking the fulfillment of our own glory, our own satisfaction, our own happiness over and above everyone else’s.
And as you begin this marriage, each of you has to understand that this selfish spirit has to be suppressed. The orbit of your love has to extend much further now. And no longer can you be living for yourself and yourself alone. As a matter of fact, you are now called to a life of self denial. You have to sacrifice some of the happiness that you want in order to please each other. You have to be willing to seek her happiness above your own and vice versa.
In our counseling we talked a lot about the different roles that each of you will have as a husband and wife. Brian’s role is to lead. Faith, your job is to help and submit. And, we didn’t talk about this, but…sometimes it’s not going to be easy. There will be times where you disagree, and you are going to want to insist on your way. You are going to want to seek to gratify your desire to win the argument and have the decision work out the way you want it too.
You know what we call that? The technical, theological word that that scholars use is “nagging.” That’s all that nagging is. It is the insistence of one’s own way and a woman’s seeking her own.
Sometimes you will be called by God to give up that desire and leave it all in God’s hands. You are going to have to say to yourself, “I am going to trust God and let my husband be the leader God has called him to be.”
The same goes for you too, Brian. You can easily imagine having a tough day of work. Then you come home to mow the lawn. After that you’re wiped out. You are going to simply want to sit down and revert to your man cave for the rest of the evening. But there are going to be diapers to change, toys to clean up, and a wife who’s going to want to have some meaningful grown up conversation.
You are going to say to yourself, “I don’t want to do any of that.” I just need some me time. But that’s when the Lord calls you to sacrificial love.
The best way to put it, of course, is to simply say that you guys are called to imitate the love of our Lord Jesus. If there ever was a self renouncing love it was the one that Jesus had for us. Think about it: He could have easily said, “Let them burn in hell.” He was perfectly comfortable there in heaven. But he didn’t do that, did he? I’m sure he would have preferred to stay in heaven. The pleasures he had there were infinitely sweet. Yet, he humbled himself and took the form of a man. And he was obedient unto death, yea, even death on a cross.
Think about how he did not insist on his own way. Perhaps it was most evident in the Garden of Gethsemane. Some theologins actually say that his passion actually started there. Because he was obviously in a great deal of agony. He was tortured in spirit because he knew all that he would undergo in the upcoming hours. He was in such distress that it says blood began to roll down his face. I think it was safe to say that he didn’t want to do it. But as he prayed he said, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
Jesus sought not his own. He renounced any inkling of self worship so that he may lay down his life for us and become our Savior. Really, he gave up his own happiness so that he might bring eternal happiness to his bride.
Truly, that is love. And I pray that the selfless, self-sacrificing love that Christ has shown for sinners like us might stir you to do the same for each other.
 Huffington Post, Woman Marries Herself.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.