Marriage and Self-Denial

The joys of marriage are real but they are only attained through self-denial and sanctifying grace. As a wife, I deny myself by obeying, serving my husband and bearing his children. I sacrifice a part of my beauty, my body to this calling. He denies himself as well, he provides, protects and leads.He sacrifices a part of his independence and  body  as he toils and protects. We both die to self but the denial takes different forms. 

 

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6 comments

  1. This is an important but difficult to explain subject. I am continuing to cover it with my students, and hopefully am managing to make something of an impact on them.

  2. I agree with Donal above. Good post.

    I deny myself by obeying, serving my husband and bearing his children. I sacrifice a part of my beauty, my body to this calling.

    I struggle with this, to a degree. I don’t think obedience is denying at all, rather it’s pure gain.

    I also don’t think pregnancy a “sacrifice” for a healthy woman who eliminates processed food, exercises hard daily, and loves her family. It’s more like a meaningful and exciting career. The reason why it’s not seen that way much today? Bad diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep (not co-sleeping with infants), not breastfeeding, and women working outside the home. Get rid of those issues, pregnancy can be no sacrifice at all. Rather it’s a luxury, one that few women get to experience in the West anymore.

    He denies himself as well, he provides, protects and leads.He sacrifices a part of his independence and body as he toils and protects.

    Same deal as above for the man. A man who has a enjoyable career (his choice on how to approach life) and a frugal, supportive wife doesn’t have any sacrifice at all. Supporting a family that is well organized and disciplined is actually fun, and what he was born to do.

    Having said all that above: there is still the never-ending pain of life. Health issues, injuries, job losses, problem children, sickness, death, etc. But those are going to come regardless of whatever one does, so I don’t see the pain of life to be sacrifice I can avoid, anyway.

  3. “I don’t think obedience is denying at all it is all gain.” It’s a paradox, no? I agree, when I obey, I gain graces and protection but sometimes obedience means dying to what I perceive is the best option. My will is not always aligned to my husband’s or God’s. I have to die to self and align my Will to God’s. That’s hard, it’s self-denial.

  4. “also don’t think pregnancy a “sacrifice” for a healthy woman who eliminates processed food, exercises hard daily, and loves her family. It’s more like a meaningful and exciting career. The reason why it’s not seen that way much today? Bad diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep (not co-sleeping with infants), not breastfeeding, and women working outside the home. Get rid of those issues, pregnancy can be no sacrifice at all. Rather it’s a luxury, one that few women get to experience in the West anymore.”

    Extreme morning sickness was my blight despite being a health nut, adhering to a very traditional Weston price diet, exercising daily etc. Keeping hydrated was an issue and the nausea was constant. Grant it, mine was an extreme case, and I agree most women would benefit greatly from simply taking better care of themselves.

    Even if health is maintained, a woman sacrifices little things, I remember how much I missed sleeping on my stomach, I gave up horse back riding for the most part and I was always mindful of my physical actions because my body was not my own anymore. I had to think of the baby’s well-being. A child brings on more responsibilities, duties – sacrifices. But joy is the return.

    “Having said all that above: there is still the never-ending pain of life. Health issues, injuries, job losses, problem children, sickness, death, etc. But those are going to come regardless of whatever one does, so I don’t see the pain of life to be sacrifice I can avoid, anyway.” Ha, True! life is pain, might as well make it count.

  5. It’s a paradox, no?

    Yes, that’s what I was trying to say. I struggle with this paradox. I can’t easily explain it. It’s God’s trick on us mortals.

    I think of someone like Michael Jordan. Every guy wants to be him, right? But he worked harder, suffered more, and had to fight for every inch of success he ever had. He wasn’t even varsity on his HS team. No rest. No mercy. Pain, pain, pain. His life, and I mean whole life, was objectively pain. Daily pain. Yet I don’t think we (nor him) actually view it that way. All we see is a champion who got all the breaks. Paradox!

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