I felt very honored that Mattie would ask me to be a part of this. I immediately began thinking about what I could say about love. I came up with several ideas each day. Then as I read every one's post on love...well I had to come up with new ideas. I guess great minds think alike. I knew I wanted my writing to reflect my true feelings and my heart. I also knew that, since it is a Valentine's project, I wanted it to be about the love between a man and a woman. The one theme that kept coming back time and time again was sacrifice. I feel like this is what God was leading me to write on.
I whole-heartedly believe that sacrifice is part of any love relationship, whether it be husband and wife, parent and child, friend, or our relationship with God. However, I just want to focus on the relationship of husband and wife.
What is sacrifice?
If I had to give a definition in my own words of sacrifice, I would say it is giving of yourself without expectation of anything in return. Isn't that what God did when He sent His Son to earth to be ridiculed and crucified? There is nothing that we can do to earn God's love. He loves unconditionally. We just have to step forward and accept His love.
What is the lesson here?
That is how it should be in a marriage. Our men should not have to earn our love. That is not always an easy thing to fathom. Some days we just do not feel like loving our hubbies, and I am sure that is a two way street. Okay, I know that is a two way street. I think part of sacrificial love is demonstrating our love for our significant other even on those days they have not "earned" our demonstration. The best place to learn about love is from God himself. Romans 5:8 says,
But God commendeth (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
So, even when I am at my MOST unlovable...God still demonstrates his love for me. To me that means that when my honey is at his most unlovable....I have to demonstrate my love for him. Do I always do this? Do I always want to do this?
NO! Should I....YES! Sometimes that feels like I am setting myself up for emotional pain. We all know that when someone is being not so lovable....well they can be mean and hurt our feelings. That is why sacrifice is a risk. We risk emotional pain when we give without receiving. Just because we do not receive does not mean that we should stop trying. Sometimes it might take Mr. or Mrs. unlovable a little time to come back around. I think that sometimes we have the misconception that marriage is a 50/50. I say we because I catch myself in that trap sometimes. Sometimes, one or the other spouse will have to give more than 50%, GASP!!!!!! Possibly 100%.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. C.S. LewisHow do I sacrifice more when I feel like I have sacrificed too much?
Jamie and I knew November 30, 2009 that our love would be tested to its limits. In the first 10 years of our marriage we never really faced any significant tests. There were minor issues and minor spats that all couples face. Looking back on that time, I realize that we were close but not as close as we could be...would be. In the two years before November 2009, we faced some stiffer challenges. They were speed bumps that I am convinced God placed in our path to build our relationship...to build our endurance. These were things that had we chosen to allow them, could have caused irreparable damage. We chose to each sacrifice and work through these things for the sake of our love, vows, and marriage. Then November 30, 2009 happened. We found out that the child we were carrying was "incompatible with life". We KNEW that this would change us one way or another. We talked about it. We determined to let it grow us and not split us. We KNEW that this would take sacrifice on both of our parts. Some days Jamie has to pull a greater weight...some days I do. I look back and see the great many sacrifices that Jamie has made since Eli's diagnosis and death. I am in awe of how selfless he has been. I have had to learn to make certain sacrifices also and I do it willingly because I love my husband. We all know that the way men and women deal with the loss of a child is completely different. That has been a difficult thing for me. I think that sometimes, men just want to know that we are going to be alright. Some days...I just cannot answer that for myself...but I still need to reassure him that I will pull through. I realize that some days, I have to put my feelings aside for his sake...for his sanity. Whether you know it or not....men...they worry...especially about the ones they love. They take on more than they should because of this sense of total responsibility that they are born with.
There are some days that I feel like I have been asked to sacrifice more than my fair share because God asked me to give my son back to Him. Some days I do not feel like I can sacrifice anymore of myself. I feel like there is nothing else left of me to give. The hard part is realizing that my hubbie might be in the same place and then digging deeper within myself and giving more. I have not been asked to do anymore than he has.
I honestly feel like Jamie and I have grown...our relationship has grown...our love has grown having been faced with the loss of a child. We both realized that we were going to be asked to sacrifice more than normal, but we were prepared and willing to for our love. The reward would be that we have each other to walk this extremely narrow and winding path together. I would have his warm embrace...his hands that wipe my tears...his companionship...his utter devotion...his unfailing love...all things that I cherish and long for...all things I lovingly and gladly offer and share with him in return.
Mattie posted a link to the song Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath on her blog the other day. That is my very favorite song. These are the verses in the bible that those lyrics come from.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (ASV)
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;
6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;
7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love never faileth:
My favorite part of these verses is love endureth all things. Love never Faileth. This part gives me warm fuzzies, especially when I think about them in the context of my marriage and my husband. I love him more and more each day and I am so thankful God placed us together. That being said...some days I have to work at it more than others, but it is absolutely worth it!
To show some love to all of you, today I am hosting a giveaway. I will be giving away a Wild Olive Beauty from Ashes t-shirt.
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite love quote is and who said it. This giveaway will end on the evening of February 14 and the winner will be selected at random. If you would like to check out Wild Olive Tees for yourself, here is the link.
Have a great day! I am going to leave you with another quote from C.S Lewis that I really like.
This is one of the miracles of love. It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.