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Marriage is Giving

True Love Means Expecting Nothing in Return

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You may have heard that marriage is a 50-50 proposition. You go halfway, and your spouse goes halfway. But who determines the halfway point if you both disagree? I have found that striking a balance between giving and taking is key. Sometimes people give too much and grow resentful. Other times, people take too much, causing their partner to grow weary. True love, by contrast, means giving without expecting anything in return, giving 100 percent, and going above and beyond what you think is expected of you.

Normally, we think about our own needs. We take care of our own desires. We cater to what pleases us. But since God made us “one flesh” in marriage, we need to learn to constantly consider the needs and desires of our mate. That involves giving of oneself to another human being.

One of the most meaningful sayings of Jesus Christ is not found in the Gospels, but in a statement of the Apostle Paul recorded in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

In marriage, it is blessed to give. In most cases, the more we give, the more we get. As we genuinely try to encourage, serve, and give, we will find that our mate will reciprocate. Each will be giving and serving. Each will be pleased and delighted at the warmth and appreciation this virtuous cycle creates. Giving means making a real effort to succeed in the marriage.

How can we increase our spouse’s joy and fulfillment? If the family can afford it and schedules permit, plan occasional weekend “honeymoon” trips to get away from the normal routine. Try to make each other feel appreciated and special.

Small gifts or words of appreciation can make a big difference. An unexpected hug or kiss requires little effort and may be a treasured gift in the eyes of our spouse.

The important thing to understand is that we do not “get” a happy marriage unless we learn to give to have a happy marriage. Giving is compromising in certain situations when we do not both agree, instead of always having to have our way.

There are times we can give and take more, and times when we can give and take less. Healthy marriages recognize these ups and downs of a giving relationship and both partners trust that their spouse will be there for them when they need it.

Let us ask the Lord to allow us to be more affectionate, loving, and respectful in our marriages. Let us ask Him to help us compromise, be more caring and kind, listen more and communicate better. Overall, let us pray for healthy marriages. Our marriages are important; they are a gift from God.

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