Tuesday mornings are a big deal for we bachelorette fans who don’t have cable. Though it’s hard to take the show very seriously, it’s an easy one to get sucked into.
At the beginning of each season, the suitors get out of a limo one-by-one, approach the bachelorette, and do their best to make a quick impression. This season, one of the men stood out as the worst of them all.
With Becca (the current bachelorette) standing in heels and a super sparkly dress about 100 feet away, this guy gets out of the limo, walks half-way and says, “Becca, come here. I believe that marriage is 50/50 so you can come to me.”
It was cringe-worthy. I could almost hear every girl watching choke on their popcorn and say, heck no.
Needless to say, he got sent packing that evening.
After the episode, I couldn’t get that guy out of my head. Why would he do something like that? How could he think that is a good way to win anyone’s heart? The more I thought about it, the more I realized he really wasn’t thinking of marriage in an unusual way. He was talking about living a life of compromise. But at what expense?
Most of the time when we think about marriage being 50/50, we think, “I’ll give 50%, they’ll give 50%, and we will have one awesome marriage.”
And all the married people in the room start laughing.
We didn’t like what that suitor did because we were able to physically see the problem with that mentality. Marriage shouldn’t be 50/50. For it to work, it has to be 100/100.
Compromising in a marriage is not about getting our way 50% of the time. It’s about compromising what we want 100% of the time in order to serve our spouses. It’s about considering them first every time. It’s about laying down our desires because there is an image-bearing soul we are bound with. It’s about both of us living with a self-sacrificing heart.
Sounds beautiful, right?
It’s the hardest thing our self-serving hearts will ever do.
Austin and I really struggle with this. I’m not saying we struggle half-heartedly in order to show you that we are relatable sinners too. No, I mean we have dug ourselves into our own little ditches so deep that we can’t see outside of our own circumstance into the heart of the other.
We have gone in circles that always lead us back to ourselves and rarely result in looking to the other or even come close to gazing up toward our Father.
We have bought the world’s lie that says, I should get at least 50% of what I want. We have said, I did my part, now you have to walk the rest of the way simply out of pride.
So what does compromising look like? How do we do it if it’s totally different than what the world is telling us? When is it our turn to sacrifice? Why does it always seem to come at our own expense?
We write this post as a couple who absolutely sucks at compromising our own desires. We write this as a couple who fights way too often. We write this as a couple who knows how to fix it because of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We write this as a couple who is still learning all the more.
In order to start doing compromise in marriage correctly, we have to create a definition to go by. Surprisingly (not), the Bible doesn’t talk much about compromise. It talks about serving. 1 Peter 4:10 reminds us to use our gifts to serve one another. Galatians 5:13 shares with us that we serve out of the freedom Christ has given us through His blood. Acts 20:35 tells us that giving of ourselves is our greatest blessing.
Jesus didn’t compromise for us. He could have said, well if you do your part and stop sinning, I’ll let you spend eternity with me.
Instead, He gave of Himself completely, emptying His blood on the cross to cover the stains our sin leaves.
Compromising is not what the world says it is. Compromising is letting go of our desires, our wishes, and giving of ourselves that another might know kindness.
As we have discussed, the world likes to paint pictures of marriages where each partner gives only 50% of themselves. It sounds nice—until we feel like we have already given our part of the deal, and it’s now our spouse’s turn.
The long and short of the “how” is simple: we just do it. We just choose to give up what we want in humility. We don’t call attention to it. We don’t make a big deal of it. We may need to walk away for a minute. We may need a while to think it through. But making up our minds that we will and asking the Spirit to guide us is always the first step.
If we aren’t careful, we quickly find ourselves asking, well when is it going to be his/her turn to give something up for a change? It may be a valid question. There may be only one person serving another.
If that is truly the case, the answer is not to stop serving. In fact, the answer is to do it more often. It is to start a domino effect. It is to pray for our spouses that we might love them more, see them as image-bearers more, and desire to serve them more.
If it gets so bad, seek Biblical counsel. But above all, we cannot sacrifice our call to serve in order to make a point in our marriage.
Because we are called to. Because marriage is a picture of the Gospel. It is a picture of a God who stepped down from His throne and into the skin of a man who would be bruised, beaten, and killed for our own sake. Marriage is not for posting perfect pictures on Instagram or being envied by others or even for making babies.
It is for the Glory of God.
If we are believers and that’s not what our marriages are about, we have got to take a serious look in the mirror. We have to begin asking if we need to reevaluate. If we need to pivot away from our self-serving path and toward a Jesus-centric path.
Compromising in marriage is not compromising with one another. It is compromising ourselves. It is giving up what we want that another might be served. It is seeking to love like Jesus loved.
It is the hardest thing our self-serving souls will ever do and it is the quickest way we can begin to grasp Jesus’s self-sacrificing heart.