The following is an adapted excerpt from the new book Choosing Marriage.
Did you ever think someone could show you love through a bologna sandwich?
I didn’t think so either.
Until I found out that my then-boyfriend-now-husband (a poor, broke, medical school student at the time) spent close to two months eating bologna sandwiches every day, in order to cut down his grocery budget to $10/week. Just so he could save up enough money to buy me an engagement ring.
The truth is this: Marriage will cost you.
When you think of the cost of marriage, what comes to mind?
According to recent statistics, the average couple today spends $26,444 on a wedding. That’s a lot of money, but it’s nothing compared to the REAL cost of marriage. Because like it or not, marriage will cost you MORE. It will cost you something great. It will cost you a price much larger than the money you spend on a ring or a wedding or a honeymoon.
It will cost you yourself.
I heard a married man on TV say (regarding whether or not he was going to stay in his own marriage), “I shouldn’t be with someone if I’m not happy…” and it made my stomach turn.
What an accurate reflection of the self-centered society we live in, everyone believing that their main goal in life is THEIR OWN personal happiness. What a small and shallow way to live. If you’re getting married with that as your main goal, to make yourself happy, you will be disappointed in a severe way.
Marriage is not about your happiness, it’s not even about you. It’s about LOVE, which is something we choose to give time and time again. It’s about sacrifice, serving, giving, forgiving, and then doing it all over again.
No wonder we often choose divorce over commitment…because most of the time, we’re choosing “personal happiness” over real commitment—over real love.
They say marriage teaches you more about selflessness than you ever wanted to know. I have found that phrase to be true in my relationship with my husband. Because at the heart of it, real love is all about sacrifice. About the giving of yourself, in ways big and small. That’s what marriage will cost you.
It’s about offering forgiveness when you’ve been hurt.
It’s about giving your time though it’s not always convenient.
It’s about sharing your heart when you’d rather hold back.
It’s about cleaning the kitchen after a long weekend, even if it’s your least favorite job.
It’s about choosing to respond with love when you’d rather respond in anger.
It’s about offering a listening ear, when you’d rather tune out or go to bed.
It’s about putting someone else’s needs and desires before your own.
It’s about giving up that last bite of cake, just so your spouse can enjoy it.
It’s about putting aside your rights, to make space for the rights of another.
The list could go on and on, but it always ends with the same formula:
WE BEFORE ME.
That’s what marriage will cost you.
We live in a world that DESPISES the sacrificial side of marriage and tries to explain it away. They teach us to strive for power, control and the upper hand in a relationship. They tell us to do what feels right, and not to tolerate anything less. They fool us to thinking that love is about doing what makes us happy. And the second we feel less than happy, they encourage us to bail…to abandon ship…and to stop investing…to give up on love.
But they’ve got it all wrong.
Because the more we give, the better we become. Real love is not self-seeking, and it will ALWAYS cost you. More, and more, and more. Again, and again, and again.
It will cost your heart, your time and your money. It will cost your comfort, your rights and your pride. It will cost you to “lay down your life” for the life of another. Because only those who learn to die to themselves are the ones who get to experience the resurrection power that comes with it.
Resurrection into real love, into real life and into meaningful relationships.
This article is an excerpt from Debra Fileta’s new book, Choosing Marriage. Learn astonishing survey results, and practical steps to take in the hot topics of LOVE, SEX, INTIMACY, CONFLICT, COMMUNICATION, CONFESSION and so much more.