If Shawn ever doubts my sacrificial love for him, he need only look at this photo:
To some, this may look mouthwateringly appealing. To others (like me), not so desirable. I dug through a chicken carcass - which I will not post a photo of - to rip off the meat and bake it into a chicken tetrazzini casserole for my sweet husband. He told me I shouldn't view it as a "carcass," but all I can picture is a National Geographic scene where the vulture descends on its prey and tears through the animal as I did tonight.
Ok, ok... enough.
It's probably pretty apparent why I'm a vegetarian. That type of image enters my head whenever I think about eating meat. For some reason, it always has. Mom reminded me that once when I was 10 or 11 years old, we went to a cook-your-own-steak restaurant in Colorado and as soon as I entered and saw all the heads mounted on the wall, I began to cry. She was so confused - no one had ever taught me this!
All that to say, I don't mind cooking meat, but I haven't made it on a consistent basis because I just don't think about it. Shawn has adapted well to downing so many veggies and tries to eat meat whenever he eats out, but still, I'm trying harder to cook it for him. And because of my recent health issues, the time may be coming soon that I will also be eating meat again. I'm seriously going to pray that these images miraculously vanish, because otherwise, I just can't do it.
Back to sacrificial love. If I ever doubt Shawn's for me, I need only to look at our stunningly clean kitchen floors that he vacuumed and scrubbed last night. This is better than candy or flowers in my book! With all of my cooking and baking, the kitchen floor gets dirty in about 30 seconds. It had been bothering me, but I didn't have time to clean it before heading to work last night. Shawn picked me up late from work (another display of sacrificial love, considering his 4:20am wake up call!) and when we got home, the kitchen floor was spotless. Thank you, sweetie. You know exactly how to make my day.
Though we've only been married less than 6 months, there have been many small instances already that have required us to sacrifice for the other person.
I'm reading "The Weight of Glory" by C.S. Lewis right now, and in it he argues that in Christianity, self-denial should not be an end in and of itself but a means to an end. I couldn't agree more. The end, for us, is the inevitable joy of our spouse. That makes the self-denial - the scrubbing floors, cooking meat, and giving up sleep - so worth it and even enjoyable.
While Shawn and I were dating and engaged, there wasn't much sacrifice that had to happen. (Ok, except for that giant diamond on my hand....) But because we weren't living together, we could be totally "on" when we were together. We could have our alone time, have time with friends, do our studying, but when we got together, we were fully present. There weren't many things we could do for each other that required sacrifice. Our time together was like one big long date. Still in college, we had no bills and the money we made from our jobs went into savings and the rest just to "play." Oh, how things have changed. :)
Just after getting married, close friends of mine would inevitably ask, "What's the best part of being married? What's the hardest part?" To both questions, my answer was the same: "Seeing him all the time." I couldn't possibly keep a happy face 24/7. I had to get used to him seeing me with no makeup and glasses. I had to adjust to less alone time and not get irritable in the process. We had to learn to serve each other by cooking, cleaning, laundry - all the really fun things. We had to re-learn each other as husband and wife because we really knew nothing about what it would be like to live together. There was no more pretending, no more "show."
I remember my Mom joking and saying that when she and Dad said their vows on their wedding night, they really had no clue what they were saying. I now see what she means. That sacred, beautiful December night, I promised things like, "I will put your needs and desires above my own." "I will pursue you always." In reality, there is no way I could possibly live up to any of this. Not only could I never be the perfect wife on my own, I couldn't even be a halfway decent one. It has become more and more apparent through these last 6 months my constant need for my Savior, the Lover of my soul. It is Him through me that can put Shawn's desires above my own. It is Him through me that will pursue Shawn's heart in the way he needs to be pursued. I cannot and will not take credit.
So though it's only been six short months, I have seen our love evolve and sweeten in ways I never could have imagined. I could not have foreseen being romanced by a clean kitchen floor six months ago. And sure, there is always room for unexpected flowers or slow dancing to jazz music on our hardwood floor. But our love and its manifestations are only growing deeper, developing roots that will last forever.