Listen to an adult contemporary music station and it shouldn’t take long to hear a self-deprecating lover pledge their willingness to die for their beloved. Ever since Romeo and Juliet (and probably well before that), we’ve been captivated by the idea that there could be a human love worth sacrificing our very life for. We want that kind of love and when an artist recreates that commitment in their music, it speaks to the depths of our souls. It may be the most compelling explanation for why Titanic was such a blockbuster; every girl wants a Jack who will place her on the debris while he freezes. It’s a monumental moment of sacrifice, and we are left in awe.
However, despite the perpetual declarations of a lover’s willingness to die, there doesn’t often seem to be the occasion for anyone to enact their intentions. Sure, scour the papers long enough and you’ll read about a lover who legitimately was put in the position to risk their own life to save their companion, but it’s a rare occurrence (at least in the relatively safe United States.) It’s not every day that we risk death so that our spouse may live, so the promise to do so if called upon, becomes easier to make.
And while there may never be an occasion to die for our beloved, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to sacrifice for them. In fact, I find it’s sometimes easier to make proclamations of my willingness to pay the ultimate cost, than it is to watch the movie that my husband wants to. Dying to save him may be inconvenient but at least it has its glory; going to the restaurant he wants to eat at, well, there’s absolutely no one who will be heralding that. It’s much harder to live sacrificially than it is to state a commitment to give my life. Yet, if I’m truly willing to give my life, than I better be willing to live like it.
And like so many things, what’s true in marriage is also true between Christ and His Church. We may be willing to be martyrs, but are we, as my pastor likes to say, willing to stay the extra hour, spend the extra dollar and go the extra mile if it means His name is glorified though we are inconvenience? I hope so. And while I hope that in my death He is glorified, even more so, I hope He is in how I live.