Sacrificial love penetrates the heart deeper than love that rests on the shallow surface of self. What is that surface? I believe we are a selfish people to some degree because we're simply human beings; may I go as far as to say we all are innately self-centered? I believe so, and I'm no exception. The key word is "innately", meaning "inborn", meaning it's not exactly a choice although I suppose it can be a conscious choice made at some point. It's not natural to wake up in the morning and say to oneself "I'm going to be selfish today". We need not worry in the least when it comes to being flawed, the damage has been done: we are imperfect human beings.
I'm not talking about childlike selfishness either ("I'm not sharing this with her", "I'm not letting him borrow that", etc.) I'm talking about sacrifice vs. "obtaining". Obtaining power, control, respect. Sacrifice being "your needs before mine" put into action. What is it that causes many couples to essentially say, "If you no longer make me happy, I'm outta here"? Selfishness, commonly paired with arrogant superiority. We want (sometimes demand) honor from others and yet when it comes to highly regarding someone above ourselves, we suddenly shy away. The irony of it all is most of us would say, "Yeah, maybe that's true about other people, but certainly not me"...
Your needs before mine. Those words are terrifying. When I got married, I told my husband on our wedding day, "This is not a wedding. This is a funeral!" Why so bleak, right? I've seen illustrative t-shirts of a [cartoon] bride and groom with the words "GAME OVER" underneath them. Marriage…a simultaneously beautiful and scary thing. Marriage…a lifelong commitment in which each and every day, you are "dying" to yourself (hence the funeral comment). Marriage…a tango of two souls. A promise that lasts literally until death. When I got married, I made the choice to die. Yeah, terrifying indeed.
You before me. I've always had a very fierce personality. I can never shut up, first of all. Secondly, I've been in relationships in which being a "doormat" would've made my life easier, but I just couldn't bring myself to becoming that (because of pride. Obtaining respect). I don't think that placing someone above yourself is being a pushover, and it shouldn't ever lead to that. In fact I think it's much more complex than "If I stop caring about my needs and only care about theirs, I'll lose myself!", which I've heard many people express. That's not really the point. It's not so much about becoming a doormat; becoming a person who sacrifices for others is the focal point.
I'm slowly learning that commitment is a river that runs DEEP. It's not throwing in the towel the second I don't get my way…no, that's selfishness. Marriage is recognizing that the other person is going to annoy the living shit out of you…and accepting (and loving) them despite how crazy they drive you. In marriage there is no room for "my way or the highway", as appealing as it may be sometimes! Love is not the feeling of being in love. Love is not feeling good around the person you feel you love. Love is not a feeling in general. I can truly say, based on experience and especially as a married woman who has been through quite a rough patch not even a year in…love is not a feeling. Our feelings are so temporary and unstable. Love is so much more exciting and complicated and beautiful and scary than a mere feeling. Love is an intriguing piece of art that no matter how long you stare at it, there's a good chance you will never know what was going through the artist's mind when they created their magnificent, crazy, confusing masterpiece. Everyday I'm learning and growing in what I learn, and it's a beautiful blooming season.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.