Saturday, May 21, 2011

Family Life Studies: Forgiveness and Sacrifice in Marriage

Discussion Question: Why is Forgiveness and Sacrifice important within a marriage? Give examples.

I have a few examples of how sacrificial behavior has strengthened my marriage.

Soon after my husband and I were married, I realized that he was much more thoughtful and giving in our relationship then I was. This was frustrating at first because I felt guilty. But I quickly decided that I would just follow his example and steal some of his ideas if need be. I’ll give you a quick example of the differences between our behavior.

If I made a batch of cookies to eat during a movie, I would pour myself a glass of milk, grab a few cookies, and plop myself on the couch for the movie. Leif (my husband) on the other hand, loads up a plate filled with the best cookies on the pan, pours a nice glass of cold milk, and brings it directly to me before loading up a plate for himself.

Gradually I have learned how to apply the principle of sacrifice within our marriage along side my husband. Here are a few examples of how Leif and I use sacrificial behavior in our marriage on a daily basis:

  1. If Leif is taking classes, I consciously make the effort to try to lighten his load throughout his busy days or study hours. He will do the same for me when I am taking classes.
  2. Leif’s hobby is raising chickens. He has made the decision not to raise more chickens then what I feel comfortable with and he doesn’t try to push the limit.
  3. Leif enjoys playing computer games (old school games that he played as a kid). We have both made sacrifices in this regard. Because Leif knows my aversion to video games, he keeps my feelings in mind when he chooses the games that he plays and at what times he plays them, I feel respected and validated, which helps me keep his interests in mind and I try not to be fussy.
  4. My hobby is blogging. Leif never gives me a hard time for the time that I spend at the computer. He reads my blog (which is actually somewhat rare for some “mommy blogs.”) I am so grateful for his support! He never gets after me on the days that I’ve chosen to write a blog post instead of doing the dishes. I am so grateful for this!
  5. I talked to Leif about this subject and he gave a very good example that affects many marriages as the years go by, intimacy. He put it so well when he said, “it is important to allow yourself to be “turned on” even though you may be tired, trying to finish a book, or not feeling well when your partner is making advances towards you.” I would also add, that it is important to keep the other person’s needs and feelings in mind, and on occasion, make the sacrifice to not advance when you know your partner is not in the mood, without making them feel guilty.

I love what the book has to say about this subject, “forgiveness is about decreasing the negativity and increasing positive feelings and goodwill toward one’s partner.”

Keeping a tally of your spouse’s positive traits rather then a tally of their negative traits just might save your marriage! But that’s just my opinion. 

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