Almost twenty-seven years ago my husband and I sat in our pastor’s office, starry-eyed and ready for a marriage of utter bliss. The pastor told us that our homework was to figure out two words that describe the key to a good marriage. We came back the next week with all sorts of eloquent phrases but none were the two simple words that he was looking for: “hard work”. Today, Jaisen and I would both say that this was the best marriage advice we have ever been given.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul addresses the chaos of the culture and then shows them a better way. What better way requires an attitude of love, sacrifice, and a complete willingness to put the other person before yourself. What many don’t realize though is that giving brings about more joy and contentment than any human perception of receiving ever could. In this seventh chapter of first Corinthians, Paul is speaking directly about the sexual relations and attitudes of the people, but I do believe that this message filters into all other areas of life as well. When a man or woman is willing to put the physical desires of the other above their own, they are demonstrating love, sacrifice, and a servant’s heart that brings peace, joy, and contentment. This is also true when we are willing to give and sacrifice emotionally and relationally.

I am beyond blessed to be married to a man who deeply loves Jesus and is willing to put his family and others’ needs before his own. As a Navy Chaplain, he has sacrificed comfort and stability in order to provide the same for me and our children. We all have sacrificed what many deem as a “normal” life with the understanding and mutual agreement that this is God’s calling on our lives. Staying connected across oceans and time zones is not easy but it is doable when you are dedicated and intentional. The long periods of time and distance have been lonely, challenging, heartbreaking, and sometimes almost unbearable. In all honesty, I have had multiple, “why?” and “really… again?” conversations with God. While the challenges are not simple, remembering that the solution is simple, “hard work” does bring about peace and focus. And oh, nothing compares to that moment when we finally get to greet each other again with a sweet embrace!

You may not be married to a sailor, but no doubt you’ve sacrificed, or at least you’ve been asked to. Marriage is hard work, but when you decide to put the needs of your spouse above your own, the rewards are endless.

Lynette Fuson
Director of Care & Counseling

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