Are you trying to “win” in your relationships and your marriage? Here’s a story of how we discovered that love…especially marriage is for losers.
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Learning about Compromise
When I was still single, there’s a line from a Maroon 5 song that I’d quote over and over for my couple friends who ask me for advice: It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It’s compromise that moves us along.
Sure enough, now that I’m in a relationship with the most awesome person in the planet, I’m learning that this is true. Natz and I only meet on weekends so we make it a point to do some bonding activity. Last Saturday, Natz wanted us to go running at Marikina Sports Center. If you know me, you’d know that I am not a fan of physical activity. Sure, I can walk long lengths but I totally despise running. (I would honestly just rather eat. Haha.) He actually wanted to run during the previous week, but our plans got derailed — to which I celebrated. I have been resisting him for quite a while actually, as he has been talking about exercising since early this year. Even last Saturday, I had partial resistance. I after all had a valid reason not to run as I was cramping from my monthly period.
I thought about it though and realized that I can’t decide anymore based only on what I want. If I really loved Natz, I would also think about him and what he wanted. If I loved him, I’d be willing to sacrifice my preferences (they were just preferences anyway!) so that we could enjoy our time together. I gave in and put on my very much dusty rubber shoes, leggings, and college PE shirt (hahaha). In all due fairness, Natz was also moved to adjust a bit when he learned that I really didn’t want to run. Instead of making us follow this full-on running program, he agreed to take it slow by allowing me to walk for starters.
Love Means Being Willing to Lose
It’s such a small thing, but it taught me a great lesson. LOVE IS FOR LOSERS! RELATIONSHIPS ARE FOR LOSERS! MARRIAGE IS FOR LOSERS! We should be willing to lose because love involves a lot of meeting halfway. And this has particularly been tough for us both (and more so for me) being accustomed to ALWAYS having to win. That’s how the world trains us anyway, right? That we have to be on the winning end of things. That we always have to ask: “What’s in it for me?” That we have to know what we deserve and shame on those who do not treat us in a way that meets that.
But if we want to exhibit love that is Christ-like, we are not to be of the world. Instead of insisting on winning, we will be okay with losing–especially when you’re already married! I am so moved by the account of Jesus in Luke 22 as He struggles during the days prior to His death. He goes up to the Mount of Olives and prays just before He gets arrested. I can imagine His agony. He KNOWS He is about to die. To make it even more painful, He KNOWS that He is to be betrayed by an apostle, denied by another, and that the rest of these supposed “friends” will scatter upon His arrest and in no way support Him.
Learning from Jesus’ Example
In verse 44, Jesus prays: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” Compared to my usual tantrums whenever I don’t get what I want or when I am placed in a situation I’d rather not be in (e.g. eating in a restaurant I do not like, walking under the scorching sun while hungry, etc), Jesus had a much much humbler stance, asking God the Father for a plan B towards our salvation only if He was willing. What He says after that completely floors me though: “…yet not my will, but yours be done.” Wow. If He had it His way, Jesus was requesting for maybe an easier way to save mankind — one that would not involve His gruesome death — YET, He sought that whatever God’s will was, then that be done. He was willing to LOSE HIS LIFE for our sake and to honor & obey the Father. Here is a kind of love that gives ALL THE WAY for us. Suddenly, not getting to pick what activity to do, or having to be more cautious with my outfit to consider what Natz prefers looks so petty in comparison.
Like Jesus, may we learn in our relationships to surrender our individual wills for what will benefit us as a couple. Relationships are not just about giddy feelings, picture-perfect smiles, and hugs & kisses. They involve sacrifice, selfishness, and surrender. Love is for not for people who always want to win. Love is for losers, marriage is for losers — for it is when you are willing to lose, that your relationship gets a win-win.