Marriage spells sacrifice. Not literally, but you know what I mean. If I had to pick a few words associated with marriage, one would be sacrifice. Two becoming one (previous article) doesn’t just happen effortlessly, you have to commit to allowing your marriage to work. Sacrificing means sharing responsibility , understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses that affect the relationship, and occasionally doing things( chores) you don’t particularly care for because it benefits the relationship.
An example of working towards strengths: I never want to send my husband to the grocery store, for a fact, he will come home with at least 5 items I didn’t ask him to get. It ruins the budget, and it’s almost never what we needed. I actually enjoy doing the shopping. I price match, use coupons, and ensure we will have balanced meals for the week. On a rare occasion I’m not home with my family for dinner, I'm sure to meal prep or risk worrying that my guys will go hungry.
Now, don’t ever ask me to fix anything around the house, that’s my husband's territory. I consider my husband extremely resourceful and handy in that regard, he changes the air filters in our vehicle. Once our washing machine clogged and he was able to fix it. Leave an issue like that to me; I’d yelp the best repair man. Knowing what our strengths and weakness are helps keep balance as we naturally gravitate to those things, and ensures the basic essentials of living are not forsaken. Spend a little time discussing what your preferences/ strengths are and take ownership of it. This does not have to be set in stone; it’s okay to be flexible. For our relationship it doesn’t mean I never change a light bulb, or my husband never goes to the store!
Whatever the dynamics are in your relationship, whether both spouses work outside the home or no one does, responsibility among the two should still be shared. When I was expecting our second son, I was a stay at home mother to our toddler. I knew when my husband got home from work he would be drained from a long day. He also knew that I was at half energy due to being pregnant and engaging our toddler, with also trying to manage our household and prepare supper. After working a long day he would love to retreat to the couch and kickback to watch a show, but he was always mindful of me having my hands full at home all day and would eagerly ask how he could help. I was mindful not to bombard him when he walked through the door, letting him transition into the role of husband and father. I did have a timer to make sure his unwinding did not take too long though. (Just kidding)
Sacrifices in a marriage can also affect the time you spend with your family and the time you have available to them. My spouse has a career where he travels frequently. I now also work outside of the home. I’m mindful of which careers and passions I pursue because of our children. I take solace in knowing I can devote every weeknight and weekend to them and ensure all their needs are met. My husband would love to have the same opportunity if it were not due to work travel, however when he is home he is very much engaged and involved and making the sacrifice is well worth it.
When you are married, it is never an excuse to skip laundry or not unload the dishwasher because those are chores you simply would rather not do. If there is a task that you are quite capable of doing and you have to reflect on the last time you did it( months) that might be a problem. Saying I do is not to forgo doing things you hate, it means someone loves you enough to do it for you. Be careful not to take advantage of the sacrifice of shared responsibility. Your spouse could very well not mind committing full time to a task, but it shows consideration and appreciation when you at least ask what you can do to help. It also reinforces your commitment to sacrificing for your marriage as well. Consider what sacrifices could be made that would help strengthen or restore your marriage.
Relationships are so important and help build the essence of who we are. When you build and mend relationships, you are building your character as well. Colossians 3:23 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."