The other day my husband got off work around 5:00 p.m. - an unusually early time. He settled in to help with dinner, play with the kids, and then went to the park with us to get the last little bit of energy out. As we sat there I realized how beautiful the weather was, and how unusual it was that my husband was home for the entire evening. It hit me that he could have gone biking rather than stay home. I said, "You should have gone biking tonight! The weather is perfect and you haven't exercised all week." He said, "I wanted to, but I felt like I needed to spend some time at home tonight." I was surprised. He knows how much I support his biking passion, but even more his need to exercise due to the stress he withstands every day.
Two days later he got off work at noon and offered to watch the kids while I went grocery shopping for the week. (I was on my way out the door when he arrived.) I refused and insisted that he go biking. He refused and insisted that I let him take the kids for a while. I made him promise that he would go biking later that day. We agreed on a time. I went shopping - with planned menus - something I never have the nerves or energy to do when all of the kids are with me (so I haven't done it now for... maybe around two years...?) After I arrived home, he went biking.
Today I was thinking about how much my husband and I sacrifice for each other. I wonder who sacrifices more - particularly during this time of my husband's career. I am sure it is him. And I am grateful for all that he does. It is a strengthening, unifying, and inspiring aspect of our marriage relationship, and for me as an individual.
Our current societal trends do not seem to celebrate self-sacrifice. Rather we hear and watch messages of how important it is to be independent, unrestricted, and completely absorbed with our own health, happiness and success. In general, people seem more selfish.
We often talk with our kids about what sacrifice means and how gratifying it is to sacrifice our own needs for the needs of another. We try to give them opportunities, or rather point out opportunities, and then identify how it makes them feel inside after they have sacrificed for another person.
But, I have to admit that I recognize that even when we understand how important it is to learn to sacrifice, and to do it often, and we have recognized consistently how much happiness it can bring, it is still difficult...
... but hopefully and maybe a little bit easier each time we do it...
... plus, it is always worth it... every single time.