In today’s culture, sacrifice is deemed as something negative. However, in marriage, it should be considered a positive thing. Think about the Hebrew definition of sacrifice:
The Hebrew word “zabach” means to slaughter for sacrifice, slaughter an animal (usually in sacrifice), to kill in sacrifice, to slay. It is the act of giving something up as an offering to someone or something else. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice was made on behalf of the people to God.
While teaching a recent marriage class, everyone was asked to “Create a list of sacrifices you make in your marriage.”
I could readily write the daily ones, like driving so my wife doesn’t have to or watching a chick flick, etc. But what about the real sacrifices, the ones that cost you something? Like putting your spouse above all things, above all other relationships? Or above your wants or your needs? Remember your wedding vows, “Forsaking all others?” It really made me think about the things I am forsaking or sacrificing for the sake of my marriage.
And as I pondered these questions, I came up with three areas I felt were of utmost importance to us all.
- Spending time in prayer for your spouse instead of what you normally do. Covering your spouse, marriage and children in prayer is vital for the head of the household.
- Sacrificing the time, you would normally do things for yourself and instead, using that time to invest in your marriage. Invest is from the Medieval Latin “investire,” meaning “to clothe.” Now I say invest in the sense of clothing your spouse with Honor, furnishing or equipping your spouse with power or authority, to covering completely, to endowing with a quality to infuse.
- Don’t allow your children to be the main focus that consumes your time. They will grow up and eventually leave, what then? So many couples find themselves as roommates or worse yet, as total strangers when their children are out on their own. Invest in your marriage so your children can see what a biblical marriage looks like.
- Remember, the setting aside of self is key to a successful marriage.
- Your Mouth
- Often, we want to be right as opposed to being wrong. However, it is better to edify your spouse than to be right. How much more peace would be in our marriages if we were willing to stop worrying about being right or wrong?
- Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Speak life to your spouse. We often lose the simple words of encouragement to the hustle and bustle of work, kids and life happening.
- Take advantage of the time you have together and speak words of edification to your spouse. In Numbers 6 24-26 we have an outline as to how to greet each other. How amazing it would be to greet your spouse with this blessing.
- 24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’
- Your Eyes
- In today’s culture, we are bombard with all types of sexually seductive images and it takes work to shield your eyes from them. I’m reminded of the Sunday school song the kids sing, “O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see. There’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love So, be careful little eyes what you see.”
- What you allow into your “eyegates” can adversely affect your marriage. For what you allow in is inadvertently allowing a sinful stronghold to be built. First glance, you think, no big deal. Second glance reveals a weakness and the third glance is no longer a glance at all. You are actually opening your “eyegate” to lust and the sin that will follow.
- Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 (NKJV)” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
- Forethought for your “eyegates”: be proactive, not reactive, before you decide to look. What is your plan? We can often see things inadvertently, but what is your plan to overcome these situations? I often tell men how when I first started working out I was lifting weights that were a little heavier than normal and required me to have a focus point on the opposite wall. A few minutes into one of my workouts a woman stood right in front of my focus point and began her workout. I then took half a step backwards with one foot and found a new focus point, removing her from my vision. You have to know what you’re going to do when your “eyegates” are compromised. Be proactive and plan how you’re going to react, what you are going to do to clear your vision.
So, I challenge you today, to examine how you sacrifice for your spouse, your marriage, your time, your speech and your eyes!