When I was young and single and stupid, I didn’t like making hotel reservations when I was leaving on a long road trip.  Why reserve a specific hotel in a specific city, I reasoned, when I didn’t know how far I would drive that day?

At that time I was living in Southern California.  Driving up to Oregon to visit my family usually took about 18 hours, and I tried to knock off as many of those hours as I could on the first day.  When my eyes began drooping late at night, I would look for a hotel.  Hey, it was part of the adventure!

And then along came Merry.  As we prepared for our first long drive to Oregon, she suggested we make hotel arrangements.  Unfortunately, I didn’t listen.

When we began looking for a hotel room late that night, we discovered no vacancies along the freeway.  Not until 3 a.m. did we finally find a room.

Merry didn’t seem to appreciate the adventure.

I didn’t fully realize then that my lack of planning was plain foolishness.  But I did recognize that I should start thinking of Merry’s interests more than my own.  She needed the safety and security of knowing how far we would drive each day and where we would stay.  As her husband, I needed to make that my priority.

This experience came to my mind this week as I was thinking of one of my favorite passages in Scripture, Philippians 2:3-4:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

As a writer and editor working on articles, books, and small-group studies for FamilyLife, I am continually drawn to this passage.  Any marriage is a union of two selfish people who both want to “do it my way.”  When we try to make choices together—on issues ranging from how to spend money to how to fold towels—we continually battle our selfish desires.  Yet Philippians 2 challenges us to “regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

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Bob Lepine, the co-host for the FamilyLife Today® radio program and a speaker at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways, believes that Philippians 2:3-4 is a crucial passage for couples to read, memorize, and practice.  “I’m convinced that 90 percent of marital problems would be fixed if this verse was applied in marriages,” he says.  I think he’s right.

The humility described in Philippians 2 was modeled by Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself by “being made in the likeness of men” and by “becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  In his classic book, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness, Andrew Murray wrote:

When we see that humility is something infinitely deeper than contrition, and accept it as our participation in the life of Jesus, we shall begin to learn it is our true nobility, and that to prove it in being servants of all is the highest fulfillment of our destiny…

The best place for us to practice humility—being “servants of all”—is in the home.  Over the next week, keep the exhortation of Philippians 2:3-4 in mind as you consider the choices that affect your marriage.

And remember the ancient proverb:  “The foolish man does not listen to his wife, but the wise man makes hotel reservations far in advance.”

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