Sacrifice is such a terrible sounding word, isn’t it? Here’s one thing about our God, He sacrificed His Son, and His Son sacrificed His life for us. This week, hubby and I have gone another layer deeper in our relationship. I should probably tell you that we are a profoundly deep couple, so much so that our marriage counselor says how unique we are, continually. I don’t know why we are like that other than Christ, so I will take it. I never wanted to live a surface life, trying to do that left me very empty and lonely, so I found a guy that would go deeper with me into our relationship and into Christ, what a blessing! But, that does not mean we don’t have conflict. Our counselor says that one day he sees Christians going to one another and saying, “I have a conflict with you” and the response on the other side will be one of delight as we sit down and dissect the conflict together with joy and grow deeper into who we are in Christ. That being said, I am not there yet, and neither is hubby.
Sacrifice is a double edged sword, right? On one hand when I sacrifice my own desires for something, I am saying no to myself. On the other hand, when I sacrifice my desire, I may just be getting something even better. In the case of hubby and I, we have both sacrificed our own ways a lot in our marriage. In some phases, he has sacrificed more and in some phases, I have. Do I feel cheated? No. That is the simple answer but the depth of that answer is deep. During a conflict this past week, hubby was saying that he feels like he sacrifices his will and desires more than I do. I don’t think he put a percentage on it, but that took us into a discussion about what that looks like. What is a sacrifice in marriage when we both have won simply because we are still married AND we really like and enjoy each other? Well, it is still sacrifice.
Hubby and I were raised so differently, it sometimes feels like daylight and dark. I was raised in a home where my dad was consistently doing BIG things (like he is right now running for governor), and my mom was the Christian Women’s Club President and PTA President. We didn’t sit down to dinners at night as my parents were rarely home. We had full schedules and my parents were out of town quite a bit and people were always coming to the house for parties and meetings. Hubby on the other hand lived in a home where dinner was served promptly at 5:30, when his parent’s arrived home from work. The dishes were done immediately and it was off to homework or television. I don’t remember my family really watching television except for church services on Sunday morning as we got ready for church and my oldest brother really liked TV. The bedtime in their home was immediately following the news, I don’t recall if we had a bedtime. His parent’s were up by no later than 6 but I believe it was closer to 5 am, I didn’t know what it looked like at that time of day. Breakfast was made and served by 6:30am and they were off to do another day’s duty of earning a living. As you can see, IT WAS DIFFERENT.
Over the years we have adopted some of each of our family’s lifestyles into our home, which is a sacrifice for one of us or the other. For instance, I used to be a night owl, my mom was a night owl until the day she died, we just performed better at night and then slept in the next day. In our home, I now go to bed with hubby between 10 and 11, and I am up shortly after he is in the mornings. I realized that he does better if I do that with him and he really hates going to bed alone. It took some getting used to, but I think I am becoming more of a morning person now. Hubby gave up several years of doing things for himself because I was sick, and in giving that up, he nursed me back to life. That was definitely a sacrifice. So this week, as he was saying he “gives up” his will more than I do, we defined what that “give up” really means….sacrifice. At first he was not happy with that word, he didn’t want me to use it and kept asking me to stop using it. After a lengthy discussion that was rather calm for our home, he was swayed to the belief that we have both sacrificed.
Once we established the word, then we could really look at what it was worth. Yes, as a married couple, we sacrifice daily for one another. However, we can look at sacrifice in a positive light when we look at what we have gotten in return. For us, each time we think about the other’s feelings before we act, I believe we are choosing to forego our own good desire for one that will be even greater. Home life can be a safe place or it can be chaos, and last year’s chaos was plenty for both of us, we are seeking a haven at home, away from the chaos of the world and into the peace of each other and that is hard to find. I talk to women everyday that have chaos when they go home and so, they don’t choose to go home a lot. Or, when they do go home, they ignore their spouse, and their phones, computers, television, etc., become their safe place. That isn’t how life was meant to be lived! Making sacrifices in our marriage, for one another, has led us to realize that there is a greater good we are desiring and our wants, in the moment, aren’t as important as that greater thing! That does not mean that we don’t have individual needs, wants, and desires, and it doesn’t mean that only one of us gives those up for the other. What it means is, we talk. We offer. We love one another. Seeing hubby’s face light up when we do something that I would never choose, his joy is worth it. I know he loves that we go to bed together now, and yes, we still spoon after 26 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wanted my way, but sacrificing my way has turned out to be a gift that keeps giving me want I am seeking…love and acceptance.
Wow, I just opened up a whole other topic with that last word, acceptance. I think I will stop here with this… To sacrifice for the one you love is hard, it’s humbling, it grows you, it challenges you, and it is worth it! I wouldn’t trade my marriage for any I have seen in this world although I am quite certain there are many stories like ours. We fit, we sacrifice, we love one another well…most of the time… and it is good. I would choose hubby again and I would choose the sacrifices I have made over the years, again. This passage I’ve read many times sums it up so I will share it….
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But if someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT