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5959483288_de06be85cf_zI recently read a blog post that caught my eye.

You can read it here. This is the line that stuck out to me:

“If we give because we are expecting something in return we my be carrying our Cross but we are not LOVING our Cross.”

Isn’t that true? It seems especially true in marriage.

I’ve done it — I bet you have, too — I’ve kept score and tallied up points for what I’ve done around the house; I made dinner, I cleaned the bathroom, I did our laundry, I went grocery shopping. And at the end of the day, that list has a tendency to make me think that because I did something good, that maybe I deserve something good in return…

That’s a trap, though, and it’s one that’s all too easy to fall into!

“We keep score, track chores, and insist on taking after we give a little.  (But) marriage is not about both parties giving fifty percent; both parties must give one hundred percent of themselves.”

We can’t busy ourselves with what we can get out of our marriages or out of our spouses. It’s not about what we can gain, and there’s no room for being self-centered in marriage.

“You can be selfish OR you can be a good spouse. You can’t be both.” (Dave Willis, Marriage.com)

We should be busying ourselves, rather, with what we can give to our spouses.

The apostle Paul taught that marriage, and the relationship between the two spouses, is supposed to be a demonstration of the sacrificial love that Christ showed His Church. 

We are called to sacrifice in our marriages, and to do that for the good of our spouses. That doesn’t include keeping tally of who did what and when.

Besides, if we actually model this in our marriages, we don’t need to be self-centered to have our needs and desires met. Because, if we actually model this in our marriages, then our spouses — God-willing — would also be trying to imitate Christ, and they would be seeking to make sacrifices for us — to provide for us.

I know this can sound trying, and sometimes, nearly impossible.

Dying to yourself isn’t an easy task.

But it’s through the sacrament of Matrimony that we actually become better equipped to pursue this model!

It is through the sacrament of Matrimony, and the graces that come with it, that allow us to love like that — and that sanctify us.

“The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.” (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799)

photo credit: JohnHopePhotography