Preparing for marriage about two years ago I heard a lot from my friends and from Christian books and such that marriage would teach me volumes about self-sacrificing love. Awesome! I naively thought, I want to be more like Jesus, who is the expert at self-sacrificing love, so marriage will be the perfect training ground for me, done. Of course, I was right. The only problem is, it turns out I’m pretty good at the self-centered love thing.
What does self-sacrificial love look like? I guess I had this idea in my head that it would be things like washing the dishes when I don’t feel like it and sharing a bathroom. These things do fall into the category. What I never expected was that self-sacrificial love would also come in the shape of grilled chicken breasts.
You see, my husband and I have a lot in common. We love Jesus, reading, nature, thinking, people, detective shows. But in the mysterious love of our Creator, we are also very different people. When it comes to food, these last two years have been a battle for common ground. I like to try new recipes; he would be fine eating the same thing over and over. I like exciting flavors and spices; meat and potatoes for him thanks. I like grains and beans, garlic, tomatoes, fish and other complicated Mediterranean taste palettes; he likes steak, fruit, cheese, pasta, sandwiches, all-American fare. So when he says, “Andrea, you know, if it were just me I would probably be eating plain grilled chicken breasts with a side of vege. Not because I can’t cook something else, but because I actually prefer it,” it’s hard for me to, well, swallow.
This is where the sacrifice comes in (and of course this is a silly example, but real nonetheless). There’s no real moral difference between our choices. I could probably even cook my “fancy” meals for about the same dollar value as his chicken breasts and vege. We could both argue for the health factor of our choices. Neither of us is right or wrong. It’s just preference. Of course, I’d still rather it go my way. We have very different preferences on many things, and coming to a resolution whenever we come up against one of those things really does require sacrifice.
The word sacrifice comes from two Latin words meaning “to make sacred.” We think of sacrifice as something that hurts, something we have to push through white knuckled or else something we need to painfully give up or away. Many times sacrifice is painful, but it’s not about the pain. It’s about making something holy. We make something holy by giving it to God. That’s why ancient peoples killed their sacrifices, it was the only way they saw fit to put what was once in this world with us into the afterlife with God.
So, chicken breasts, huh? I guess that’d be ok. But there is a little bit of me that has to die in order for me to say yes, in order for me to close my Pinterest board full of new recipes and heat up the George Foreman for those chicken breasts. It hurts a little to not be able to live my life exactly as I would if I were on my own, but in the end it’s good. I’m sacrificing a bit of myself, yes, but I’m helped by knowing that the self I’m sacrificing is being given over to God to be made holy.
Until next time,