Do you remember a time in your life when you sacrificed something important to you for someone else? How about for yourself? Maybe you lost sleep for months working several jobs to make ends meet or maybe you gave up eating foods you love to support a friend or family member who needed to get healthy and exercise. Perhaps you have never had to sacrifice time, fun, or possessions that are important to you, but you have seen others sacrifice for you. How did that affect you? Did you realize the weight of the sacrifice? Understanding the importance of sacrifice in marriage is significant.
Marriage, when it is healthy, will include its share of sacrificing for each other. Two people cannot come together in one home, love, communicate, and care for each other without occasionally suffering for each other. My husband is an amazing example of a sacrificing husband. There have been several times I’ve cut back on certain foods for my health and he’s been faithful to not only support me, but to give up the same foods. Even when he would be out of my presence, he would still turn them down. Perhaps his biggest sacrifice was when he gave me the amazing chance to stop working outside the home, allowing me to work on my health goals and to devote time to my home and to our work with couples. He willingly went without extra fun money and time to give me this opportunity and to bless our family. He is the hardest working man I know, and I am truly blessed to have him.
Is the person with whom you plan to spend the rest of your life a giving person? Is he or she someone you believe would trade their comfort for your needs, if necessary? Would he faithfully sleep at your bedside in the hospital? Would she willingly give up her “me time” to take care of you in a time of sickness?
Are you a giving person? What if finances became tight and you had to choose between your weekly golf time (that you love) and her hair appointment? Would you be willing to give up something important to you to bless her? Speaking to the ladies, if money became tight would you be willing to go without certain comforts to allow your husband to play golf (or other activity he enjoys)?
During the dating/courting phase of a relationship, these small sacrifices may seem like no big deal. You may be thinking, “Of course I’d give up something as small as golf or a hair appointment.” After marriage, reality sets in, and sacrifice becomes reality, not theory – and it is often painful. It is hard forgoing things we think we deserve especially in cases when we believe our sacrifices are not noticed.
My advice is to keep giving. I am not advocating being a doormat or never expecting anything from your spouse, but don’t let your sacrificial giving be based on how much your spouse has sacrificed for you. Marriages where each person commits to give 50% often fail. Why? Because there are days that you won’t be able to give 50% and there are days your spouse won’t be able to give 50%.
If your spouse gives 40% for long enough, you may grow tired of picking up the slack if you have the 50/50 mentality. In high school, one of my teachers told our class that marriages should always be each person giving 100%… because when one person fails to give his or her best, the other is there to keep things going.
Sacrifice may sound awful, but it is one of the purest ways to show love to someone. Saying “I love you” is good, and necessary; but, giving of yourself, time after time, is proof that you really mean what you say. Cooking dinner every night when you are tired is a sacrifice. Getting up two hours early each morning to earn the income your family needs by working overtime is a sacrifice.
Marriages are full of opportunities to sacrifice, but they’re even good for us too. They build character in us and intimacy between us and our loved ones. If you are in a relationship with someone who normally refuses to go without their own comforts and pleasures, seriously consider the impact of that dynamic for your future. Are you prepared to do all the giving?
I have not met anyone yet who is truly willing to carry the entire weight of their marriage. Some have had to do it, but had they known before marriage what life would be like with a thoughtless, selfish person, they would have likely made a different marital decision.
People have bad days and everyone struggles with selfishness at some level; yet, if you are with someone who rarely sacrifices his or her own way for your good and pleasure, please understand that such a dynamic is not likely to get better – and it can be very draining over the course of a life. On the flip side, if you are unwilling to sacrificially give (demonstrated by your track record, not just what you say), you are not yet ready to be someone’s spouse.
When it is hard to sacrifice for your spouse, especially if he or she has not treated you with love and respect, remember the ultimate sacrifice: view Christ as your example of sacrificial giving (Romans 5:8).
Is there a time that sticks out in your mind when someone gave sacrificially for you? Do you have a pattern of giving sacrificially?
Anita Elaine Weaver Hollins says
Good Morning. This article has really opened up my eyes. I also like for someone to make sacrifices for me. I’m always the one giving: “BUT” never receiving. Please Pray for Me. Call Me: if at all possible. [phone number redacted] I would like to talk to someone about this. Thank You. God bless You. 🙂
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Emma Bryant says
I want to know what should I sacrifice for marriage, besides Trust, Respect, Time, and fiance
Sacrifice is more of a stance of selflessness. And when you are dating or engaged, it is important to know the difference between being selfless and being a doormat. Both people should be aiming to serve the other in love – if it is only a one-way street, then be very cautious about marriage!
If you are already in the marriage, then make sure you are surrounding yourself with good support – talk to your spouse… and, if needed, your pastor or a counselor. It is important to air out issues instead of letting them fester throughout the years.
Emma Bryant says
I’m planning on getting marry soon and these of some issues that came up finance, health, expectations of strength and weakness, faithness, and afterwards. So I want to know can you please put some of these issue up so I can read them.
Sincerely Emma B.
We have almost ten years’ worth of articles on our site to help couples. I am sure we have written on all of those topics throughout the years. Please use the search box on our main Blog page and you’ll find the articles you are looking for!
I recently asked my boyfriend what he would be willing to sacrifice for our relationship. He responded 3 billion other women, basically the opportunity to date, sleep with, have a relationship with other women. This made me feel uncertain of his motivations and concerned about his view of opportunity cost.
You will want to know before entering marriage that he truly loves you and isn’t being pragmatic in his selection of you. It is also important to note that some men are hyper-systems oriented and have difficulty discussing emotions and relationship-oriented content. Make sure you take the time to understand his motivations behind that response – and discuss with him the effects of how it made you feel.
Nwagbo jovita says
Thanks for the article, please who should sacrifice more in marriage, the wife or the husband.
Nwagbo jovita, both should sacrifice for each other. In fact, if each person tries to out-sacrifice for the other person, both will end up feeling fulfilled and loved. But, it is not a competition. Christians are called to love their neighbor… and who is closer and more of a neighbor than one’s spouse? Even if the other person is not reciprocating, sacrificing for your spouse out of your love for God (because He has told us to love our spouse) may be the best reason of all anyway.
This response is excellent. God bless you. Rendering in marriage as to the Lord.
What if your partner is not ready to give up a ‘worrisome’ close friendship he or she has with someone of the opposite sex. One which doesn’t sit well with you and have made it known to him/her. With the opposite sex not also helping matters after being in the known someway somehow
Part of this answer is going to be based on your current relationship with your significant other. The actions taken will differ based on level of commitment. Are you two dating? engaged? married?
In any case, it is time to sit down and have a serious conversation about why your partner is holding onto that relationship. Have your partner list the reasons why that relationship is being prioritized above your desires for that relationship to cease existing.
Also, in any case, you need to examine your motivations for wanting that relationship to cease. Do you see your partner flirting? Do you see the other person flirting? Or, could it be that their relationship threatens some insecurities you have about yourself and nothing romantic between them is happening?
Different couples have varying standards of opposite-sex relationships/friendships – and, admittedly, not many can pull them off well. But, some can, so I do not want to be legalistic over it. In any opposite-sex relationship, the dynamics and rationale for the relationship need be explored. What is the purpose of the relationship? Does the purpose align with frequency of contact and conversation? (There is a large difference between talking a few times per week and talking a few times per year.)
If engaged or married, I would recommend seeking a counselor to work through this issue if nothing resolves between you two. And, if married, your spouse should prioritize you above every other human relationship. Wedding vows are vows for a reason – to each other, and each other only.
Great. Well In my situation we are dating. the frequency of contact was absurd. Work colleagues so each other every day. Chats after work hours letting each other know when home, eating together, phoning each other every day more frequently than me which i realised, exchanging gifts…no obvious flirting per se..lil insecurities. I wasnt getting that close/best friendship he was having with her. When i came in the picture first
Got more personal which was worrying.
after confrontations, discussions, disagreements to agreements and unfortunately some heated arguments much earlier… current situation is he still hears from her. Apparently not frequently as it used to be. I come across her name in his call log once in a while when i happen to have access to the phone. But reaction towards it has calmed
If you haven’t talked with your boyfriend about these dynamics, it will be helpful to do so. Not in an accusatory way, but in a way where he hears your concerns and your heart. And also to give him an opportunity to express how he feels.
Less frequency is better between two people of the opposite sex who are not family (and not pursuing a healthy, romantic relationship); but, having the expectation of zero communication with others of the opposite sex is also not realistic. It’s about balance, openness (between you and sweetheart), and faithfulness to each other.
It sounds like circumstances are heading in a positive direction. Do make sure to capitalize on these times to share your heart and for him to understand where you’re coming from. The main goal here is increased understanding for both of you from each other. Once each of you know how the other person feels, it will be easier to modify the behaviors necessary to make the relationship better.
Grace be with you.
What about sacrificing the need and desire to have a second child when they say they don’t want one? This has been an enormous sacrifice that I seem to be having an impossible time to swallow. And in this sacrifice, I’m the one that needs to seek help to get over it. He’s just fine. I don’t know.
It sounds like you both are at an impasse and need to talk with a pastor or counselor about this issue. I would encourage you to do that. Find out the reasons why he does not want more children. See if his concerns can be remedied. Have him talk with only-children who are now adults to understand if they find that experience optimal (hint: they often do not). It is important to continue discussing an issue of such importance. The Bible says the marriage bed is honorable and the first commandment was to be fruitful and multiply. If he is unwilling to speak with a pastor or counselor, it may be beneficial for you to go alone. If a counselor, make sure he or she is firmly grounded in biblical principles.
Leanne Searls says
I have been married fourteen years to my husband and have known for over 12 of those years that he was not the man I met and fell in love. The amount of sacrifice and compromise I have put forth in an effort to get to the “happy ever after” he promised me is heart breaking. I’m at the point of feeling numb to the things he pointedly does to show his lack of regard for me, my happiness, my future and well being. I have been severely depressed and withdrawn in my life for the last several years. I stay to myself careful not to let anyone in because then they will see what I see and wonder why a woman like myself would remain in a situation that clearly doesn’t serve me in any way. I’ve made the decision to leave in two months and have made him aware of this. He casually disregards me and anything I try to communicate to him. He says he loves me and makes promises that he never intended to keep. Whats worse is when he breaks a promise to me and feels absolutely no remorse or responsibility to apologize much less explain why he didn’t keep his word. I know now that if I dont leave now I’ll likely leave this world sooner than I should with the broken heart I have today. The financial burdens I carry as a result of his lack of desire to take care of me have become very stressful. I’m a few years away from fifty years old and fear the best days were already wasted trying to wait for something that was never going to happen. The other night he decided to offer me one of his shallow insincere apologies which I have found to be just words said nothing more. There is no forethought or sincerity connected to his words revealed through his actions. I didn’t accept his apology like I typically do because they no longer register in my heart. I explained to him why I’m leaving and he never asked me not to go or what do I have to do to fix what’s broken. Instead I told him what he would have to do and without time to even consider my words he said ” no I cant to do that “. The sad thing is the two things I said would have to take place was that he would have to get a job and stop spending 30 hours of the 45 I work every week hanging out with his friend. That is a pretty clear indication that not only will he not sacrifice any of his selfish desires but that he also doesn’t love me and isn’t worth my sacrifice any longer.
I feel for you and your situation. You don’t mention if you are a Christian; but, if you are, I would encourage you to go to your pastors for help. The Church exists to bear one another’s burdens and help each other through trials. Our prayers for reconciliation are with you and your husband.
I am in a beautiful relationship with a lady much younger than me. I’m 55 and she’s 36. We are fine but her family doesn’t seem to be okay with the relationship. Her father took ill after she informed him of our relationship. Her mother seem okay with it somewhat. The problem though is her older sister who has said hurtful things about our relationship and she is outright mean to my fiance. She was particularly sad sad about it this afternoon and I cant help but feel bad that my relationship with her is causing all these mishaps in the family and affects her relationship with her sister, her daddy’s health. I dont know how to deal with this as I love her despite the age difference which seems to cause so much trauma in the family. I dont know if it will be possible to sacrifice my love for her so she can restore her family relations. But will that solve anything for us? Will she ever be understanding? Will I be able to be at peace with myself?
Teboho, it sounds like you are in a difficult situation. True love is sacrificial and wanting what is best for the other person – even if that best is not you. You will need to find out from your fiancée what she wants. It is best if you both win over the hearts of her family together. Sit down with each family member and have *her* explain why she is happy with you. She should be prepared to answer their questions; and, you should do very little (or none) of the talking. They need to be convinced that *she* wants to be married to you and that you are not tricking her in any way into a marriage with you.
The Bible says that we should honor our father and mother. If at all possible, you want their blessing going into a marriage. And please remember… you are not just marrying her… you are marrying into the family. Of course you two will be a distinct unit and couple; but, when family issues arise and she wants to support them, that will require your support too (whether actively or passively).
If you love her, you will continue to gently and faithfully walk through this trial with her. And if you two are meant to be married, you both will come out stronger.
I am in a sticky situation, I am in the UK and my husband is in France. We both got married 1 year ago but we haven’t fully lived together as I have work and other family issues in UK to look for and he works in France. My husband and my in laws expect me to move to France straight after wedding. I tried working remotely in France for 4 1/2 months during vivid situation. However, I am struggling to settle in France and prefer my husband to come to the UK, but he is so adamant that he wants to live in France because he has his family there. I find it soo hard and unhappy to leave my family, friends and career behind and start everything from scratch in France. What would be the best couples advice for this please?
That does sound like a sticky situation. But, it also sounds like these life differences were going to be a known entity upon becoming married. Which discussions did you two have with where you would both live after marriage? Did he commit to moving to the UK? Did you commit to moving to France? Whichever commitments were made prior to marriage should be enacted now that the marriage is solidified. Will that be easy for either of you? No. But, marriage is based on trust. And if one of you committed to moving to be with the other, then faithfulness and integrity states that such a commitment should be completed to allow trust to continue to grow and flourish.
Now, it may take some time to tie up loose ends as moving tomorrow to the other person is probably not reasonable. But, I would think that it would not take more than 2-4 weeks to resolve outstanding issues and get the move completed. Will one person’s employment be unhappy with them (if working remotely is not an option)? Yes. But, a spouse is more important than an employer. A spouse is also more important than existing family members. As a Christian, the Bible tells the man and woman to leave their families and cleave to each other as the new primary family unit.
If, in an unlikely turn of events, these details were *not* discussed prior to marriage and no commitments have been made, then it would be up to the two of you to talk out this situation and come to an agreement about who is moving where. And I use the word ‘agreement’ strongly – though the outcome may have elements of difficulty, the ultimate decision should be a win/win for both of you.
If you two are at an impasse and refuse to come to an agreement, the final biblical step would be for your husband to decide what will happen. He should make that decision – not based on his own wants and desires, but – on the best outcome for you both (not for only him or based on what his family of origin wants). The Bible says that the husband is the head of the home – and as the head, he is the one primarily responsible under God to make good and loving decisions for his family – and God will hold him accountable to making those good decisions. As a wife, God would bless you for following his leadership (even if it is in a direction you do not currently prefer).
I have found that the best way to answer questions like these is to find the answer to this question: “Ten years from now, which decision will I have wanted to make at this present time?” If you two can figure that out, then you’ll have a plan to get where you both want to be. And maybe that is in neither the UK or France. 🙂 Grace be with you!
Chelsea Owens says
I’m recently engaged to a man that I’ve been with for 6.5 years. He’s a good man and hardworking. We’ve started a business together within the last couple of years. The very first night we met I told him that I am a massage therapist. As time went on he told me that he did not like the fact that I was one much less that I massaged other men. After many arguments and a breakup we did get back together and I told him that I would only massage women. Fast forward to now, I am currently completing continuing education to keep my license active, however I’m not actively performing massage therapy. He is upset that I am following through with keeping my license up-to-date. I told him that I am proud of the accomplishment I had made by doing this when I was younger. I’m not interested in massage but I don’t see the point of letting something I worked really hard for lapse. He doesn’t want me working in our company if I’m going to keep my license. I feel very upset and angry at him over this. I feel like I’m giving up on something that I did for me way back before I even knew him. I just don’t know what to do.
“He doesn’t want me working in our company if I’m going to keep my license.” This is the sentence that struck me the most from what you wrote. I am guessing that working in the company together has little or nothing to do with your massage therapy. Therefore, this appears to be a non sequitur threat and is being used as an ultimatum by him to you. It will be important to discuss with him *why* this issue is so important to him (and a mediator or counselor may be necessary to investigate to the real reason[s]). If the result was “just because I want it that way” or “because I said so,” then that is a concerning position on the tyrannical end of the spectrum of possible reasons. I could speculate a handful of possibilities why he could be taking this position; but, my speculation does not do you much good. Diving down to the heart of this issue – and what is driving it – will be essential. I would honestly not get married until this is clarified and you both are on the same page regarding it (whether you choose to continue keeping your licensure valid [which is understandable since it takes a lot of work to get to that point] or giving it up because you *both* agree that’s what you want to do moving forward [not just you capitulating to his desire]).
We offer in-depth pre-engagement and premarital counseling if you are interested. Click on the Counseling Services in the main menu and proceed from there. We would love to be able to work with you two to help you understand each other better.