Serving one another is the cornerstone of a thriving relationship. For many of us, lovingly serving our spouse is joyful. We do or say things that are kind and giving. We aren’t required to, but we give out of a heart that is loving. We open the door for our wife, we compliment a wonderful dinner, or we leave a thoughtful note that expresses our appreciation. There is an ease to expressing our love in a way that serves our spouse.
But what about the times when it’s not so easy? What happens when the acts of kindness are getting few and far between? We may feel ignored by our spouse. Days or weeks go by with no thoughtful acts of love. What do we do then? How should we respond to a vacuum of the simplest acts of kindness? How do we give when we feel so empty, unloved, and unappreciated?
Sacrifice is defined this way —
To surrender or give up
To permit injury or disadvantage to for the sake of
To yield, surrender, offer
To resign oneself to endure, forbear
At times in our relationship the very act of selflessly serving will reach the level of sacrifice. Our own emotional bucket may be low or empty, but love still finds a way to give. We can love sacrificially if we understand that truly loving is not dependent on us being full. We can give even in our emptiness. It is yielding our needs to the needs of our spouse. It is self-denial. This is selfless love.
A recent film portrayed this kind of love when a young couple was engaged to be married. She shared her dream of a large family with many happy children. WWII broke out; he was drafted and came back three years later with an injury that left him unable to sire children. They stayed married for years but the intense desire to have children of her own never went away. She tearfully decided to leave him. Before she left, he told her that he loved her so much that he didn’t want to stand in the way of her dream. He loved her so much, he let her go.
He was depressed and despondent. The one he loved so much left him because he couldn’t give her what she so desperately wanted. Time passed and his despair deepened.
And then, there was a knock on the door. His wife had made the difficult choice to return to him. They grew old together and found their joy in each other. He was willing to give up what he wanted so she could have what she desired. And in the end, she gave up what she desired to have what she really needed, the love of her husband.
Sacrifice – giving up something for the sake of something better. At times, your love may require sacrifice. It may require all that you have to give.