A good marriage is never a 50/50 arrangement. While it may seem ideal to some people for everything in a marriage to be divided down the middle (money, chores, etc), in reality that just doesn’t work. Expecting everything in a home to be 50/50 essentially means that each spouse is keeping a running list of everything they have done, and comparing it to everything their mate has done to make sure the lists are “even.” If the lists aren’t even (and usually they aren’t) it leads to frustration, hurt and discontent.
As Christians, we are called to sacrificially love our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, Jesus said that sacrificial love was to be our defining characteristic. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) This includes the way we love our spouse.
As I understand that verse, a good marriage should be 100/100. In other words, each spouse should go into marriage expecting to give their level best to the other person, even if it means that the lists aren’t always even. It’s loving sacrificially; putting our spouse as the top priority. This is a requirement for a strong, healthy, flourishing marriage.
Let me take a side trail for a moment, and give you a look into our marriage, both to explain how this looks practically, and to thank my hubby.
Yesterday was a physically strenuous day for me. Three girlfriends and I went to a grocery store in the area that was new to us, and found some really fantastic deals. Seriously. It was great, and my freezer is now WELL stocked. We ended up being out longer than I thought, so I went straight from there to work. By the time I got home I had been on my feet all day and was physically drained.
When my husband arrived home from work, he found an exhausted wife. I wasn’t able to deal with the messy house, or with doing much in the way of dinner—even if it was date night. My husband understood this, and instead of expecting me to do 50/50 he loved sacrificially and cleaned house. He did the dishes, pulled up a movie I enjoyed, and even cleaned the overflowed yeasty bread dough out of the bottom of my bread machine (a failed recipe from a couple days ago). He gave 100%.
Although I wasn’t able to do much that evening, I was able to use my tongue. As he was working on things that are usually my job, I tried to speak words of life to him. I wasn’t able to carry half the load, but I did give what I was able to give—appreciation; love; acceptance. I gave 100% also, it just didn’t take the same form.
For a good marriage to work there has to be sacrifice on both sides. It take both spouses sacrificially giving 100% of themselves, and refusing to keep mental “check lists” about their mate. Is that hard? Yes. It is hard. It’s more natural to focus on ourselves and our needs than it is to focus on our spouse, and what our spouse needs. But sacrificial love is SO worth it.
Lets take Christ as our model and choose to love our spouse sacrificially. Lets let the way that we love be such a reflection of Christ, that people look our marriage and say—“Hey, they must be Christians.” It’s what Jesus wanted.