Imagine a man who pours his soul into everything he does, is willing to work harder than anyone else and has an ability to focus intensely and achieve seemingly anything he puts his mind to. Now he has found the love of his life and made a conscious and carefully discerned decision to get married.
Doesn’t this sound like a relationship that is built to last?
Not if this man happens to be named Tiger Woods. Or Donald Trump. Or any of the other countless examples found in celebrity circles or even among the high achievers in your own group of friends. And, of course, this description is certainly not limited to the males among us.
Career Success Equals Marital Success
Those who achieve high levels of success in their chosen profession would seemingly have the skills and work ethic required to have a successful marriage. Although these traits do translate for many, we are nevertheless left with a lot of high-profile examples where high achievement in some areas of life doesn’t translate into a happy and healthy relationship.
If you consider the personality traits that help form the foundation for an awesome marriage, it’s safe to say that you’d want to include good communication skills, leadership, passion, perseverance, focus, patience, self-confidence and motivation among them. These same traits are essential for success in many areas of business, particularly at high levels like those demonstrated by Tiger and Trump.
And yet we find countless examples of messy divorces and utter failures in the marriages of these folks.
Why doesn’t success in our career directly translate into success in our personal relationships?
The Missing Ingredient
The answer is pretty simple and quite universal from every indication that I’ve witnessed. Regardless of how many world-class skills and high-achieving personality traits someone possesses, they won’t find happiness and success in marriage unless they have mastered the art of…
While career success can often be achieved through a self-serving approach, a healthy marriage will only be possible when both spouses are able to serve each other. Regular self-sacrifice is a key ingredient to a thriving marriage and family life. In fact, it may be one of the most important traits of a successful spouse.
So, while Tiger Woods may be a master of focus, determination and utter passion, his inability to serve his wife and children in a selfless way wrecked his marriage. He felt a sense of selfish entitlement and lost sight of a lifelong commitment he made to serve his spouse before himself. He put his own interests and needs above those of his family.
And he is certainly not alone in these choices.
What Are Your Highest Priorities?
If asked about the top priorities in your life, you may well list God, spouse and children as your Top Three. And if you are a person of faith and a parent, I’d say you’ve got the order correct.
However, the bigger question is whether you are living according to your stated priorities. It’s difficult to live this way and not let our career or other interests creep up and sneak into our Top Three. It’s very easy to do in our modern culture.
The key is once again to put aside our self-interest when necessary to serve others. Whether it’s our God, our husband or our daughter, we live out our priorities by living with selflessness and putting those that we love first.
So, are you pouring passion, hard work and determination into your own marriage? More importantly, are you pouring yourself into it?