Marriage Will Cost You

In Advice and Encouragement, Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta22 Comments

Did you ever think someone could show you love through a bologna sandwich?

I didn’t think so either.

Until I found out that my then-boyfriend-now-husband (a poor, broke, medical school student at the time)…spent close to two months eating bologna sandwiches everyday, in order to cut down his grocery budget to $10/week….just so he could save up enough money to buy me an engagement ring.

The truth is….marriage will cost you.

When you think of the cost of marriage, what comes to mind?

According to recent statistics, the average couple today spends $26,444 on a wedding. That’s a lot of money, but it’s nothing compared to the REAL cost of marriage. Because like it or not, marriage will cost you MORE. It will cost you something great. It will cost you a price much larger than the money you spend on a ring or a wedding or a honeymoon…it will cost you yourself.

I heard a married man on TV say (regarding whether or not he was going to stay in his own marriage), “I shouldn’t be with someone if I’m not happy…” and it made my stomach turn.

What an accurate reflection of the self-centered society we live in, everyone believing that their main goal in life is THEIR OWN personal happiness. What a small and shallow way to live.

If you’re getting married with that as your main goal, to make yourself happy, you will be disappointed in a severe way.

Marriage is not about your happiness, it’s not even about you. It’s about LOVE – which is something we choose to give time and time again. It’s about sacrifice, serving, giving, forgiving, and then doing it all over again.

No wonder we choose divorce over commitment…because most of the time, we’re choosing “personal happiness” over real commitment….over real love.

They say marriage teaches you more about selflessness than you ever wanted to know. I have definitely found that phrase to be true in my relationship with my husband. Because at the heart of it, real love is all about sacrifice. About the giving of yourself, in ways big and small.

It’s about offering forgiveness when you’ve been hurt.

It’s about giving your time though it’s not always convenient.

It’s about sharing your heart when you’d rather hold back.

It’s about cleaning the kitchen after a long weekend, even if it’s your least favorite job.

It’s about choosing to respond with love when you’d rather respond in anger.

It’s about offering a listening ear, when you’d rather tune out or go to bed. 

It’s about putting someone else’s needs and desires before your own.

It’s about giving up that last bite of cake, just so your spouse can enjoy it.

It’s about laying down your rights, to make way for the rights of another.

The list could go on and on, but it always ends with the same formula:

YOU before ME.

And WE before I. (Tweet It!)

We live in a world that DESPISES the sacrificial side of marriage…and tries to wish it away. They teach to strive for power, control, and the upper hand in a relationship. They tell us to do what feels right, and not to tolerate anything less. They fool us to thinking that love is about doing what makes us happy.  And the second we feel less than happy, they encourage us to bail….to abandon ship…and to stop investing. 

But they’ve got it all wrong.

Because the more we give, the better we become. Real love is not self-seeking…and it will ALWAYS cost you. More, and more, and more. It will cost your heart, your time, and your money. It will cost your comfort, your rights, and your pride. It will cost you to “lay down your life” for the life of another. And only those who learn to die to themselves are the ones who get to experience the resurrection power that comes with it.

Resurrection into real love, into real life, and into meaningful relationships.

*The overwelming popularity and reaction to this article has launched a book project! Debra’s new marriage book (a book for couples AND for singles to read) will be releasing May 2018. Sign up HERE to stay in the loop, and receive free resources and articles leading up to Book Release!*

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life,  21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray for Your Love Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

Catch up on the ENTIRE #LoveIs Series as we unpack the traits of love from 1 Corinthians 13, by clicking on the photo below or subscribing to my blog!


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22 Comments on "Marriage Will Cost You"

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Very single but what scares me most about marriage that av been noticing is that most people change or can i say reveal their true colors and when your partner isnt sacrificing much as u do,its like u adopted an adult ,who just wants to be kept&maintained as you fight for your marriage alone.wich drains you faster into old age.


Some good thoughts here. This is a mindset that a lot of people in today’s world aren’t willing to adopt


Wow, this is such a great message! Sometimes I get confuse between codependency and sacrificial love, but now with this article it’s a clearer for me! Thank you Very much for sharing it!!


It does not feel like a burden it feels more like caring for a sick infant you want the burden and not them


Beautiful piece Deb. I will by the special grace of God have a marriage relationship that depicts sacrificial love.


What a lovely message Debra. It just came on time when I was still contemplating about this holy union “💑 MARRIAGE 💑”
Bless you


Our Pastor recently preached about marriage in Genesis 2. I was going back and forth whether I wanted to get into marriage again til this point: he reminded me in his sermon MARRIAGE GLORIFIES GOD! My heart melted now I want the opportunity to serve a husband in love through marriage very much!!
Get me ready Lord! 🙂


Sounds like a good message your pastor preached! The more I learn about marriage the better I feel about getting back out to maybe seek out that Christian bride God has set aside for me! So I feel what your saying…I want to lead, support, comfort, protect, and love a wife the way God would have me do!
It’s amazing what the Lord can do in us when we put or read good godly information!


I believe real love is really sacrificial but it works best when both parties are actually willing to do the “YOU before ME”. This way both of them are satisfied seeing that each one is looking out for the interest of the other.


True sister in Christian Jesus. Although I am not married but that is the best way to get loved and love.#Servantude attitude.

This is a sweet article, written with love and hope in your heart, and clearly you’ve chosen to marry a man who wants to be a man. But how about when you’ve married a man, on paper, and then he regresses into a man-child shortly after marriage? One who lies on a daily basis, one who hides his porn addiction and alcoholism, one who refuses to accept responsibility for his actions and kicks and screams when you offer him help and a constant ear and shoulder to lean on? One who chooses to blame you for everything wrong in your… Read more »
Hi Mary, First of all, I agree with you more than I agree with the author. It seems like a very short-sighted article that holds truth but dismisses the entire picture. I agree we shouldn’t live selfishly. However, I am almost certain (since the author is not Jesus himself) that she does live selfishly every single day. However, her belief that she should be sacrificial like Jesus helps her marriage, and I’m sure her husband is responding to it. I would not be surprised if he was more sacrificial than she was. In all of these cases, it would be… Read more »

While I agree with this wonderfully-written article, in light of Mary’s comment, it would seem appropriate to add to it this one observation…a healthy marriage also has boundaries. This is true of any relationship, whether it’s between co-workers, friends, family members, etc. Healthy people know how to maintain healthy boundaries with others, even their spouses. I heartily recommend the book, “Boundaries” by authors Trent and Cloud. It is helpful in bringing clarity to the situation that Mary described and proposing a course of action.


Perfectly said. How can you possibly love someone else deeply or give all of yourself emotionally if you are unhappy. Bottom line, both people need to be on the same page and feel the same way about each other.

This is the problem with american Christians and marriage. Statistically, church-goers and the world, divorce rate is about the same. I think this message is preached at every church, but no difference. Because this advice is stupid. Couple of observations. 1. I see example of men sacrificing, what women don’t need to sacrifice? I see men behaving badly, what women don’t behave badly? 2. Yes, everything written above is what we should do, but can any human do it? This is the #1 PROBLEM with american christians. Human-centered. They think God gave us these rules because we can do it.… Read more »
K. Wanner
I agree with you, to a point. It’s extremely easy to sit and assume that if someone chooses to walk away from a marriage, it’s because there is such a nonchalant attitude about sticking around for the tough stuff….and goes into it thinking it’s all perfect give and take. Sunshine and rainbows. However, here’s a thought. Marriage is meant to be between two people….and the sacrifices you talked about, should come from both in the marriage. There ARE TIMES, that doesn’t happen, and it truly IS one sided. People who write articles such as this one, want to forget about… Read more »
A. Warrior
True. But there must be times when divorce is an option. If you become the punching bag, physically or metaphorically for your spouse, and repeated requests to stop are left unheard, for example. Sadly, it is often those who most deserve divorce that least get the relief, and through a mixture of shame, disappointment, or low self esteem, they conclude that the devil they know is better than uncertainty of the future. They can forgive and forgive, and after having lost themselves and allowed the damage to spread to children, family members, and friendships, they are isolated from the support… Read more »
Meh to the comments. I actually like the article. It reminded me of the times when my wife and I were starting out–in love and very imperfect. We regularly sacrificed for each other’s transgressions and both hurt each other, but we worked through it. The love was there, and for me it has been for over 26 years. That didn’t continue, as she chose to violate her vows repeatedly. We tried to reconcile twice, but she has chosen not to continue to uphold the marriage, and now it is ending. Both people have to choose the marriage, it comes with… Read more »
I would give this article to my teenage kids, or to every couple even thinking about marriage. But to pontificate with judgement to those of us whose husband walked out is very frustrating. Five years ago I walked the walk of this article. Then after our 25th wedding anniversary he walked out. I cried for two years, brushed myself off, walkesd the Camino de Santiago and five months later met the love of my life. I’m living happily ever after two years into a relationaship of shared interests, mutual love, and a lot of fun. I would have sacrificed all… Read more »

Marriage absolutely requires sacrifice. I disagree wholeheartedly that it is “all about sacrifice”. Should you ever find yourself in a relationship (romantic, family, friend, career or otherwise) that requires nothing but sacrifice from you, then you should know you have wandered into unhealthy territory.

We have been married a long time, together much longer. We have 3 children and have had our fair share of family challenges, but our marriage is a place of happiness and peace, not my greatest demand.

A M Groh

I’m all about giving, but you can’t do that for 20 years and never receive anything in return. If your partner does not subscribe to your theory, it turns into a one way street. That’s not fair to anyone. Including children involved. Your point is well taken, but does not apply with the broad brush you just used.