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By:  Donna Martin

The first known selfie was taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839.  This practice of taking a picture of oneself is not as new as I thought it was.  The earliest usage of the word selfie appeared in 2002.  In the fall of 2013 he word selfie was added to the dictionary and became known as the “word of the year”.

The world seems obsessed with selfies.  We place them on our Facebook pages, on Instagram, and on Snapchat.  The TV show, American Idol, even provided a way for viewers of their show to take selfies with the Idol contestants by way of their televisions at home. Selfies are taken by people around the world –teenagers, grandparents, celebrities, the President of the United States and even astronauts in outer space.

We all have a lot of fun with selfies, but when it comes to marriage a “selfie” attitude can be a real relationship breaker.  While visiting China last year, one of our guides told us that many young people in China today are very selfish.  He thought this was due to the fact that most of the young people come from homes where they are the only child.  They have been the center of attention from the day they were born and have not learned to share or think of others.  Because of this selfishness, the divorce rate is very high in China.

Selfishness is a destroyer of marriages and homes.  Infidelity and divorce normally come as a result of selfishness.  Selfish people treat their spouses and children as objects rather than as people.  We may think we are not selfish, but you possibly could be selfish if you…


  • Sulk when you have to do something your spouse wants to do instead of what you want to do
  • Suddenly become tired or restless when you are doing something that your spouse wants to do
  • Always have to win an argument
  • Emotionally manipulate your spouse – withhold sex, ignore your spouse, give your spouse the silent treatment
  • Refuse to apologize
  • Make promises you don’t keep
  • Always expect to get something in return if you do something for someone else
  • Want others to listen to you, but you never want to listen to someone else
  • Do not think about how your actions and words affect others
  • Have an entitlement attitude


Happy marriages and happy families consist of people who are concerned about the needs of the other people in their family.  It is good to take care of yourself.  However, if you find yourself concerned about your own happiness and comfort more than the happiness and comfort of your family, you may just be a little selfish.

We would all do well to remember the words of Paul in Philippians 2:3.  “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

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