When my wife and I got married I knew there would be some things I would be giving up. Most men worry about never sleeping with another woman again or not having the freedom to go out with the guys. I'll grant you that the first absolutely applies. The second? Not necessarily.
In a truly amazing marriage the most challenging things for guys to give up have nothing to do with surface stuff. You may even get to do more "guy" type things. In fact I've done jumping over fire and swimming through mud that was five feet deep...with my wife right by my side.
But here are three things I sacrificed for an amazing marriage. If you're a man you'll likely want to do the same.
Even though I grew up in a broken home my parents gave me one very important characteristic. They repeatedly told me I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. I loved it and reveled in how much they believed in me.
But there was a downside. I came to a point where I was sure I knew more than anyone else. In my mind no one was as intelligent as me and I was not terribly shy about sharing my knowledge. When my future wife and I were dating this side of my personality showed up. Repeatedly. But she knew exactly how to handle it. She simply broke up with me. SEVEN TIMES! Every time I got out of line she dropped me. It was some pretty hard core training, but I eventually learned.
If you are going to have an amazing marriage then you'll need to let go of your male pride.
For a period of time I was an Astronomy professor at a university and also took students on field trips to check out regional geological phenomena. As a professor I was respected and people generally followed my lead. I soon became accustomed to having whatever I wanted and however I wanted it. In short I pretty much always got my way. This is what men like.
Once when preparing to leave for yet another field trip my wife came to me in tears. Our time together had been dwindling and her heart was breaking. She asked me not to leave. I so very much wanted to go on this particular trip. But I didn't fight or argue. Given the option of seeing and studying beautiful rock formations vs loving and caring for my beautiful wife I chose the latter.
Living in an amazing marriage means giving up the male desire to always have my own way.
Just before our 10th wedding anniversary we were in desperate need to find a new place to live. The house we rented was being donated to a local non-profit and part of the deal was we must vacate the premises. We spent a significant amount of time searching for a new place in the local area.
Eventually we came across what appeared to be a perfect home. Closer to my work, fair rental price and owned by a sweet Christian woman. The day came to sign the lease. I was a man on a mission headed to seal the deal. But out of the blue my wife called and told me "this just doesn't feel right".
Remember we had to get out of our current home soon and we had searched and searched until we found just the right place. My male need to be in control wanted to just brush her off for having unnecessary anxiety. But we are people of faith and I trusted her intuition in spiritual matters. So I called off the deal. She was right. Not long after I received an offer for a better paying job that required moving out of that area. Had I not listened to her we would have been locked into a 12 month lease.
To have an amazing marriage sometimes you need to give up your manly need to be in control and trust your wife.
You may think from these stories that I'm a pushover and never have anything I desire. My friend, nothing could be further from the truth. I live in a home filled with joy and have a wife who always looks forward to spending time together. She loves me dearly and does whatever she can to give me the things I want.
I didn't really sacrifice anything to have an amazing marriage. Everything I let go has been repaid back many times over the years in terms of peace, harmony and love. What did I give up? Strife, anger, pain and suffering. What did I gain? A marriage beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
This post first appeared on The Good Men Project.