Selfishness in Relationships

Selfishness in Relationships Selfishness is a large problem today in relationships and marriages, both in and out of the church. We live in a selfish, me-me-me, immediate gratification society. This selfishness is promoted in all segments of society today, including: TV, movies, social media, and many other parts of the internet. In this article, I am going to give several general authority quotes that clarify how selfishness and narcissism need to be lessened, while empathy, consideration, and giving are needed instead to strengthen, nourish, and fortify a relationship.

General Authority Quotes on Selfishness in Marriages and Relationships:

Marriage requires complete fidelity and putting the spouse as the main priority over other selfish interests and desires:

“When the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. …
“The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. …
“Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives totally to the spouse all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection, with all dignity. Any divergence is sin; any sharing of the heart is transgression. As we should have ‘an eye single to the glory of God,’ so should we have an eye, an ear, a heart single to the marriage and the spouse and family” (President Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 142–43).

Selfishness: the great destroyer of marriages:

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “When you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on throughout eternity” (Ensign, Dec. 1995, 67)

In preparation for marriage, develop skills to focus on giving and contributing, rather than seeking selfish wants and fads:

“All too many enter marriage who have never learned to cook, sew, or develop other important life skills. Ignorance of these needed skills, along with the lack of understanding of the management of money, sow the seeds for many failures in our children’s marriages.

I fear that in many cases we are rearing children who are slaves to expensive fads and fashions. Remember the scripture, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” How do we determine where our treasure is? To do so, we need to evaluate the amount of time, money, and thought we devote to something. Might it not be well to evaluate how much focus we place on shopping and spending?

The more our hearts and minds are turned to assisting others less fortunate than we, the more we will avoid the spiritually cankering effects that result from greed, selfishness, and overindulgence. Our resources are a stewardship, not our possessions. I am confident that we will literally be called upon to make an accounting before God concerning how we have used them to bless lives and build the kingdom.”
--Elder Joe J. Christensen, Greed, Selfishness, and Overindulgence; General Conference, April, 1999.

Date looking for a marriage-quality person, rather than just because someone “looks good”:

“What is the main purpose for dating? Isn’t it to get to know another person well enough to know what kind of a partner that person would be? Isn’t it to learn to know that other person’s character, interests, talents, and abilities? Or is dating merely an opportunity to satisfy one’s passions? Each person will have to answer that question for himself. However, a sure guide would be to follow the words of the Savior: “Again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself” (D&C 38:25).

The necessity to practice unselfish love in courtship becomes imperative in marriage. Persons interested only in romance soon find the realisms of marriage too much to cope with. Yet in magazines and books emphasis is placed on romance and material pleasures. This is almost the exclusive appeal of advertising. It is demonstrated over and over again in moving pictures and on television. It is the exclusive appeal of pornographic literature. People become conditioned by this exposure and grow up expecting only personal gratification in marriage. Personal selfishness is the main reason for the present high divorce rate throughout the world.”
-- Elder Theodore M. Burton, “The Need for Love”; General Conference, April, 1979

Final Thoughts:

The more that selfishness exists in a relationship or marriage, the more unhappiness will follow. Also, the more selfish the spouses, the less likely a marriage will survive. So please follow the advice of these general authorities. Selfishness needs to be controlled and lessened for your relationships and future marriage to not only survive, but to thrive. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Dr. G
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at

2024-01-21 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Healthy relationships, Communication, Conflict resolution

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to