In a recent homily, my priest said that the problem with marriages these days is the lack of self-gift. “Nobody knows how to say ‘No’ to self for the sake of the other,” he said. If only husbands and wives could live for one another, so many issues would be resolved.
The concept is familiar: If we want to make relationships work, we must deny our own needs and wants, and instead satisfy the needs and wants of the other. Love, it is said, is the gift of self, which means sacrifice, which these days means denying oneself for the good of others.
My priest gave the ultimate example: Christ died for the Church, and we are called to be Christ-like.
Although this is a familiar refrain, the thought struck me with remarkable force that day. Was my priest saying that we are to die for our spouses? Is that the only way we can be Christ-like in marriage? Granted, it would be quite romantic in a Romeo-and-Juliet kind of way, but it wouldn’t be very practical. If we all died for our spouses, there would be no spouses and therefore no Church to celebrate Christ’s salvation. Continue reading