Marriage and sacrifice….can’t have one without the other

Everything that is worth having is worth working for.  This old adage couldn’t be any truer than in the marriage relationship.  In the context of marriage this “working for” can be labeled as sacrifice. Sacrifice has a bad connotation in our society when it comes to relationships because we are told to always look out for number one. But we admire those who sacrifice of themselves for others in other contexts- military, physicians, firefighters, etc. 

When you sacrifice for someone, you show them love.  And love is more of a verb than an emotion and therefore requires action. Love as a feeling is conditional and dependent on our mood or our feelings.  True love however, should cause you act in tangible ways for the one you love.  We think of our spouse’s well being first. True love requires sacrifice. 

Men, by nature are explorers, conquerors, and protectors.   The first two characteristics serve well in the context of dating.  But when a commitment is made, when two truly become “won”, the role of protector should take over.   As such, sacrificing of ourselves for our wives should come as a natural extension of who we are.  When we sacrifice of ourselves for our wives, it communicates that they are important, that we care about them and we want wants what’s best for them.  Sacrificing of ourselves more importantly puts us second.  This is not only sacrifice, but it’s the basis of servant leadership.  

 What does sacrifice look like in the context of marriage you ask?  Great question!  Well, I can say I would watch “The Notebook” with my wife if she wanted me to instead of the Super bowl but I would be lying! Just kidding.  But really, there would be no way I could do that.

True sacrifice in marriage means that I would be willing to do whatever is needed for my spouse’s well being.  That means I will be cancelling a planned golfing weekend to be with my wife after a stressful week.  This means that I will leave work early to pick up and stay with the kids if she needs time with her friends.  This means that I will wash dishes after she has cooked.  And it definitely means that I will help her onto a boat if I sense danger in the water while snorkeling. … Well actually this is one area that I failed since I did the exact opposite when confronted with the same situation during our honeymoon.  But to my defense, it was my first time snorkeling.  Ha!

The real take home point here is that when we sacrifice for our loved ones we are really sacrificing for ourselves because in marriage two become “won.”

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We don’t feed the Machine

Roses

We don’t Feed the Machine

So what are you getting your wife for Valentines Day? Are you getting your wife flowers? Every year these questions are asked of me by some women at the work. There is such an expectation to hear some great, elaborate story that it almost seems like a chance to live vicariously through a romantic tale. The irony of it all is that usually these questions are asked by ladies who openly complain of their married lives and how much their husbands don’t do. The interviewers are almost dumfounded when they hear my response: “We don’t feed the machine.”

I understand about doing something special for the one you love, which sweeps her off her feet all over again. But why should this be relegated to one day of the year that dates back to the 5th century? Why should the expectation of treating the one you love, the one with whom you became “won” be for only 1 out of 365 days?

Well, before I get labeled as a curmudgeon, I will say that I like to do special things for the love of my life. I like to be spontaneous, romantic and do things that just make my wife feel as if she were a newlywed. But I enjoy doing these things throughout the year instead of one day where society has created an expectation that a husband’s love is to be proved with flowers, chocolate and cards. The only spontaneous, romantic thing I cannot do is breakfast in bed. Why you ask. Unfortunately I cannot cook. : (

However, I like to clean after my wife cooks. I like to vacuum, sweep and mop the floor. What I like even more is to hear my wife say, “Thank you honey,” after I do these things. Not that she needs to say this but to know that I did something special for my beautiful wife is GREAT! To see the look of relief on my love’s face as if she were to say, “I am so glad I don’t have to do that after I’ve just done…,” is so satisfying that if makes me want to do it again. Why? Because I love her and she deserves it. You see, the Bible is clear on how I should treat my wife: with respect and in a way that protects her. In fact, in 1 Peter 3:7, Peter states that if we neglect this, a husband’s prayer will not be answered.  This refers to how a husband treats his wife on a daily basis.  Not on special occasions.

By telling my wife that I love her throughout the year, two can truly become “won.” This is not necessarily done with words, although saying “I love you” everyday is important, but with actions. This is especially true since love is a verb not a feeling. If this is practiced often it is easy to continue. It takes a lot more inertia to do this once a year. Just sayin’…. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Loving To Infinity and Beyond

Rob nd Lisa-Southern Adventure

I have to take a break from my regular post to share the fact that I recently celebrated 17 years of marriage. Neither of us did anything extremely special. Neither of us got cards, I didn’t get flowers, there were no gifts and there was no special celebration.
You would think that after 17 years of marriage I would have sent my wife flowers and a card. You would think that I would’ve made her breakfast in bed; scratch that, I don’t cook.
Instead, we gave each other our past 17 years. Sure, it is nice to get flowers, go out to dinner, a bed & breakfast or a meaningful gift. But nothing says “I love you” more than truly showing love to each other 365 days a year. How do you show love that many days you ask? Well, it’s about more than saying “I love you.” It’s about showing your love to her by being a strong leader, by being her rock, by helping her cook/clean and occasionally saying, “honey, I got the kids and the house. You go have some alone time.”

And sometimes it’s sipping coffee on the front porch and just listening to her. But most of the times it’s by encouraging and affirming each other in everything you do. It’s about being there in tangible ways. But I would like to give a word to the wise: do not attempt this if you have not nurtured your marriage relationship.

That is how a marriage should be celebrated; like everyday is your anniversary. After all, don’t we invest time on ourselves? How is this different from daily investing in your marriage? If two have truly become “won,” it is not different at all. Because investing in a marriage is investing in yourself. Scriptures says it like this in Ephesians 5:28-29: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church…”