Feeling Entitled Weakens Your Marriage

Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, knows a lot about winning. In fact, his team has won three of the last four BCS football titles.

Nick is known for being serious, focused, and process driven. One of his mantras, which his team has obviously bought into given their dominance over the past four years, is “You can’t feel entitled if you want to stay on top.”

This applies not only to championship-winning football teams, but also to marriages. Part of the breakdown in our modern society is the smug feeling of entitlement that visits Generation X (born 1960 to early 1980s), has a strong grip on the Generation Y (born early 1980s to 2000), and is baked into Generation Z (born post 9/11).

This feeling of entitlement, i.e., the thought that the world owes one something due to some external factor that was neither worked for nor achieved, is a great malaise in our society. Unfortunately, it shows up in all walks of life, including marriage, where it can poison the strongest of relationships.

When a person feels entitled as a spouse, he/she will stop working on the marriage, and will instead start making demands and/or waiting for the spouse to go first in everything.

Coach Saban’s wise words regarding entitlement needing to be discarded to stay on top have been proven true by his football team, which shows up each day ready to evidence why they’re champions. Follow their lead by making Coach Saban’s mantra yours in your marriage, and stop feeling like your spouse “owes” you something.

Instead, you go first, and be an investor in your marriage instead of a mere taker. When you do this (and your spouse does the same), you’ll have a championship-caliber marriage that you’re both proud to be a part of and model to others.

Entitlement weakens your marriage, so chuck that flawed ideology to make your marriage work!


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  • Derrick D Stevenson Sr

    Reply Reply January 8, 2013

    All love has an expectation. While love never expects one to do something to be loved it does expect a response to that love. For GOD so love the world (we did nothing to deserve it) that HE gave HIS only begotten son that whosoever believeth in HIM (responsive expectation) should not perish but have everlasting life. Even GOD expects us to respond to HIS love. HE expects us to respond in a manner that positively reflects the love that HE has given to us (see Ezekiel chp 16:1-34). In this passage of scripture the text clearly gives us a demonstration of how GOD showed HIS love unto Jerusalem and it inhabitants and there negative response to that love. Because of the negative response we see the judgment of GOD on Jerusalem and it’s inhabitants in Ezekiel 16:35-43. The text goes on into feather detail concerning there abomination in the remainder of the chapter. My point is, if GOD who’s image and likeness we where made in, and are now, after the fall and us receiving the gift of salvation are being transformed or reshaped into, requires a positive response to HIS love why shouldn’t we? Everyone wants to be loved, so, if I love my wife as Christ loves the church giving myself up, dieing in my marriage so that she can live why should I not expect her to love me back? Have I not put in the work of love? Should I not receive my just wages? Please help me to understand the logic in the statement “you can’t feel entitled if you want to stay on top” as it pertains to a husband or a wife feeling entitled to the love of there spouse. Peace & Blessings

    • Kevin

      Reply Reply January 9, 2013

      Dear Derrick — thanks for the comment. We never said a spouse was not entitled to the love of their spouse — that was your comment. Certainly, there’s an expectation for a spouse to feel loved by his/her mate. But, again, we never said that expectation was unmerited.

      Instead, we said when a person feels entitled as a spouse, he/she will stop working on the marriage, and will instead start making demands and/or waiting for the spouse to go first in everything.

      The intent of our post is to impress upon mates that they have to stay engaged in the marriage .. not just coast and hope everything works out because the spouse is putting forth all the effort.
      Kevin recently posted..Feeling Entitled Weakens Your Marriage

  • Save My Relationship

    Reply Reply January 12, 2013

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. I don’t believe I’ve ever used the word entitlement when I discuss marriages with friends or families. But it’s something that is prevalent in many marriages today. The fact that many of us might feel like we’re owed a happy marriage because we married a college sweat-heart or because we have happy healthy children or because we live in a nice neighborhood. Marriages are hard work and if we approach each marriage with the thought that we are owed happiness regardless of our situations then we become too lazy to put in the work necessary to maintain a happy marriage. It’s almost like we become complacent after about two years or so. This sort of belief seeps into marriages and leads to neglect, mistrust, lack of communication… etc. I hope more people heed this warning and realize they need to drop the believe that they are entitled to a happy marriage, and instead realize that marriages are marathons that need constant attention and fine-tuning.

    • Kevin

      Reply Reply January 13, 2013

      Thanks for the comment. I had not ever thought about spouses feeling entitled until reading Coach Saban’s quote. But, I feel that way now. You brought up really good points that deserve attention. I appreciate you sharing!
      Kevin recently posted..Feeling Entitled Weakens Your Marriage

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  • I totally agree with what you are saying. When we expect others to fix our lives, because we believe that we are entitled to it – because we are friends, family, partners etc. – problems will arise and weaken the relationship. I believe that the recipe for a happy marriage is to take the responsibility of our own lives, and happiness, and to fulfill our own needs and dreams. Yes, it all starts with ourselves, because our relationships (including our partner) is a reflection of ourselves.
    Lisa @ Recipe for a Happy Marriage recently posted..Recipe for a Happy Marriage – Ingredients for a Good Marriage

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