Marriage Will Cost You

In Advice and Encouragement, Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta13 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.

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

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  1. 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.

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

  3. 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!!

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

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

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

  7. 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! 🙂

    1. 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!

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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 marriage? One who never tries to improve himself or to grow as a person? All the while you ARE offering forgiveness, you ARE giving of your time, you ARE sharing your heart, you ARE cleaning the kitchen because he just refuses to and someone needs to do it, you ARE responding with love even though he is responding with anger, you ARE putting his needs and the needs of the kids before your own and he just takes and takes without giving in return, you ARE constantly giving up your rights to make everyone else happy while you are losing your patience, strength and faith in the institution of marriage. That list could go on and on but you get the point. At some point, marriage DOES become about your happiness, about your sanity and eventually about your freedom. When you have done nothing but sacrifice yourself, your hopes and dreams and your happiness, for years, all for the sake of trying to make someone else happy and whole. When your man-child refuses therapy because you are the problem, not him. Marriage then becomes about pulling yourself together and then putting yourself first. Your happiness, your hopes and dreams then go back on the table and then you have to fight for your rights to take back everything you lost in your “marriage”. And if your man-child was not willing to take responsibility for his actions and shortcomings during your marriage, he’s certainly not going to take responsibility for anything throughout the divorce process. I never once “despised the sacrificial side of marriage” and did nothing but sacrifice to the point of mental and physical exhaustion and then eventual resentment. At some point, you have to realize that SELF LOVE DOES play a very important role in your marriage. When you have done everything you suggest in your post, and then some, and it doesn’t make a dent in your relationship because you’re not both on the same team, you have to realize that it’s time to take your “real love” elsewhere and to then give it to yourself. I was married for almost 10 years and have been divorced for almost four. I am still learning how to keep making sacrifices for the sake of my children because the man-child I married is still taking and taking, still blaming me for everything and still refuses to grow up into a real man. So, please realize that there are many sides to this coin and there are lots of good people out there who hold your same beliefs about what marriage is supposed to be but, at some point, they have to make the ultimate sacrifice which is to put themselves, their happiness, and their power back in the forefront so that they may be able to live out the rest of their days with peace and self love.

    1. 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 all too easy to write an article like this. A preachy albeit biblical one.

      It looks like you’ve been through hell and back. When my parents divorced, one was left alone while the other remarried. Still, it made me happy that my mother was happy. I believe you like her made the right choice. I thin now for you like her have an issue of forgiveness to deal with. Of course, I don’t know your heart so only you can answer that for yourself.

      In Christianity, we are often left with something impossible. Jesus and Paul tag-team and give us advice to follow. Ultimately, it is to do as Jesus would even though we are not Jesus himself. This is important because this makes us forever disobedient-prone, this makes us fall and fail again and again. We will ALWAYS have a gap between reality and the ideal obedience. For example, if we were to follow it to the tee, it would mean that you would have had to stay in the marriage for 50 years and die, and then go to heaven. At that point, it would have all been worth it. However, a majority of us never live like that. We DO need to love ourselves because that’s the only way to DEEPLY love someone else. I do believe the minority of us potentially COULD live in a marriage like that for 50 years. Those are people like Jesus but I haven’t found one yet.

      People like you and me and the author make up the majority. We say “we should live like this and that” because that is how we strive to live, that is how Jesus advises us to live. We shall never ever, though, make it seem to others like we do. We can only humbly say we try and you should try too. God forbid we make others feel guilty for not living up to the standard of Jesus.

  11. 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.

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