Today, however, I want to talk about marriage. Specifically, I want to give you some basic advice for marriage:
Marriage is NOT a compromise.
Give and take is a lie. 50-50 doesn't work. Push and pull is not God's design.
This has been one of the most common pieces of "advice" I have received from the older, more seasoned marriages that surround me. Compromise, meet her halfway, etc.
I see two problems:
First, it doesn't work! Only a few years ago, my wife and I were trying to buy a house (we succeeded!). We had to set up meetings and work out a contractual agreement for the buying of the house between us and the former owners. The idea is simple: find a middle ground that would satisfy both parties. The problem was, we wanted a little more than fifty-fifty. We wanted to know that we had won the negotiations.
When we aim at 50-50, both parties always stop at 40 and fight for the rest.
Second, I don't believe God desires us to set up our marriages as 50-50 business deals. One example:
"and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ, Wives to your own husbands as to the Lord...Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." -Ephesians 5
There is no room for 50-50 here. This is the hand you go all in. Every chip you have is on the table. Every bit of you is expended, not in the pursuit of yourself, but in the pursuit of your spouse. This is a 100-100 marriage. A God honoring emptying of self in pursuit of another's God-centered joy.
I have never been happier than when I stop thinking about myself. I have never been disappointed when I look to give my wife 100% of what she needs. Her dreams become my desire. Her spiritual life is the garden I help cultivate. Her heart is the treasure I desire to keep.
And let me tell you, you never lose, even when your spouse isn't 100% for you. And when they are for you, all in, both are pushing each other to Paradise.
There is no room for self in marriage.
Lord, empty me in a way that I can best serve my wife. Amen.