Paul headed out tonight to a Men’s ‘Italian Oven’ night at church. He was reluctant to leave due to the two in-bed-but-screaming girls he was leaving me to deal with. “Go” I said, “I want you to go”. And so he left. And I really am glad he can be out on a Friday night enjoying some good food (they apparently had Gluten Free options) and some good fellowship. But it doesn’t make it easy. Doing something difficult with the desire to benefit another person is almost never easy.
And thus enters the dilemma of all relationships, and in particular, marriage. Not that I am saying that marriage is a dilemma. The dilemma is the collision of my innate selfishness with my commitment to love another. Because those two things do not always equate. And it’s everyday. Numerous times.
I have committed to love Paul. And not in that gushy-infatuted sense. Although there are definitely real feelings involved. My commitment to him is a real, tangible love that surpasses feelings and emotions. Which is a very good thing because they change fairly easily (understatement!). Our love for one another is modelled on Christ’s love for us – a love expressed in selfless sacrifice of the biggest kind. But I guess it is in the every day moments that this love-in-action commitment is really tested. Because I probably won’t be challenged to die for anyone most days. Not even for my husband. But I will be challenged in some ways. There will be smaller sacrifices to make. And smaller does not always mean easier.
I mean, when we first got married 2 of the things we had to work out were which apples we would buy and how we would fold the towels. So simple, so insignificant and yet these were issues we had to actually work through and talk about! When two people come together as one, there will always be areas that are more prone to friction than others. I am so thankful that Paul is such a godly man, and that as such he is acutely aware of his weaknesses and eager and willing to be selfless, forgiving and humble towards me. He is an example to me!
And yet that struggle with selfishness continues daily to rear its ugly head. It’s those every day moments where I have a small choice to make that this battle will be fought.
Will I give up my Saturday morning alone time so that Paul can catch up with a really good friend who he rarely sees? (But what about me?)
Will I get dinner ready while the girls are sleeping today so that Paul doesn’t come home to a very stressful situation of screaming girls, stressed out wife and no food in sight? (But what about me?)
Will I bother going out to the shops with the girls so as to give Paul some peace and quiet while he has a major assessment due? (But what about me?)
None of these examples are profound, amazing or inspiring. But they are real. And they are the choices and decisions that as a whole will set the tone in a marriage. May we continue to struggle towards making small sacrifices for others, even when it’s hard, really hard.
What are some of the small sacrifices you have made lately?