By Pastor Rex Hamilton
Meaning in marriage is not found by pursuing happiness or self-fulfillment. Meaning in marriage is discovered by practicing self-sacrifice. …How does this play out in daily life? In much the same way it happens for an athlete. If a team wants to win a championship, every player must sacrifice daily by training and following the coach’s instructions.
I have numerous opportunities every day to give up what I want to do and instead serve my wife. In this way, I glorify God because my sacrifice is a reflection of His heart and how He loves His bride. I’ve finally realized that my marriage is satisfying to the degree that I daily sacrifice myself for my wife’s good.
What does that mean?
- It means biting my tongue when I’d rather defend myself against something she said.
- It means getting up in the middle of the night when a child cries rather than pretending I don’t hear anything.
- It means putting down my book or the remote and really listening when she wants to talk.
- It means taking over some chores when she’s got a hectic day.
- It means cleaning the kitchen Sunday evening rather than leaving the mess for her to face on Monday morning.
One of the original purposes of marriage as God intended it in the Garden of Eden was to reflect His image. That means marriage is about something bigger than the two of us. Marriage is one of God’s primary means of speaking to the world, and the world takes notice when a man truly loves His wife the way Christ loves His church.
An athlete doesn’t enjoy the pain of serious training. But he trains for the future reward of winning. This is the challenge for marriage-to sacrifice my momentary definition of happiness for the long-term good of my spouse, thus reflecting God’s heart and earning His praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Marriage becomes a masterpiece when we choose to surrender our selfishness and give ourselves to our spouse!
I wish I could say we succeed in always loving each other sacrificially. Of course, we fail often, but one consolation is that we’re in the game. Every athlete knows he can’t be a hero unless he’s actually playing in the game. My wife and I have new opportunities to demonstrate sacrificial love, and when we fail our covenant reminds us that the next day we have a chance to try again to get it right.