Marriage is for Losers

-2015“Marriage is for Losers!” This sounds like something some guy in his late teens or early twenties might loudly proclaim at a party with lots of pretty girls and alcohol.  It also sounds like something someone might mumble when walking out of divorce court.

So why would I say something like this? I’m a big believer in marriage. I want to see marriages succeed and thrive. Why would I say, “Marriage is for losers”?

Because it’s true. Marriage is a losing proposition. You lose the freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it. You lose the right to spend money on whatever you want. You lose the ability to stay out all night and come home whenever you want. You lose the freedom to throw your dirty close wherever you want.

Few endeavors in life will cause you to give up as much as you give up in marriage.

By this point, some of you are thinking, “Your making marriage sound awful! What about all you get back in return?  What about the companionship, support, shared experience, shared goals, and partnership in life? Don’t these things more than makes up for what you lose? Don’t these things make marriage worth it all?”

Yes, but the fact remains…to gain those things you must lose others things.

This is not only true of marriage, it’s true of all great endeavors. Professional athletes, successful CEO’s, musicians at the top of the charts, award winning actors, and world changing physicists all give up time, effort, opportunities, sleep, and money to be successful.

Which leads me to ask the following question. Could it be that marriages suffer and fail because there’s not enough losers getting married? Too many people get married for what they will get from marriage; not what they’re willing to give to marriage. Too many people want to add marriage to their life without marriage taking anything away from their life. They want to be married, but they don’t want to be a loser.

So many marriages look like two toddlers fighting over a toy they both believe they deserve and neither wants to lose.

I believe losers make better marriages. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but marriages thrive when husbands and wives are willing to lose everything for the sake of the other. Is it easy? No! Do we always like it? No! Will there will be times when it feels like you’re unfairly losing more than your spouse? Yes! But if marriage doesn’t cause you to loosen your grasp and lose your selfishness and self-centeredness, then you’re probably not doing it right.

None of this means you have to give up being who you are, but it does means you have to give up the right to stay the way you are.

So here are some questions for you:

  • Are you a gracious loser? When you have to give something up for the sake of your spouse and your marriage, do you act like a martyr, or do you quietly and graciously give it up? We teach our kids how to be good losers. Maybe we could use more of that in marriage.
  • What is it you need to lose for your spouse and your marriage? Do you need to lose an attitude about marriage that worked in the home in which you grew up, but not in your marriage? Do you need to lose a behavior that would be fine if it were just you, but doesn’t work for the two of you? Do you need to lose an interest or hobby that takes too much time or money away from spouse and kids? Do you need to lose an item or tradition that has out lived it’s usefulness? Early in our marriage we were a single car family with a little truck that I had bought before we got married. I loved that truck, but I had to get rid of it because there was no room for a car seat. It seemed like a weak reason to me, but as I said…marriage is for losers.
  • What are you willing to lose for your spouse and your marriage? “Wait. Didn’t you just ask that question?” Nope! There is a big difference between knowing what you need to do and being willing to do it. A child may know that they need to clean their room, but it’s their willingness to clean their room that makes all the difference. What are you willing to lose?

If you want to be a better loser in marriage, start small. Pick one thing you know you need to give up for your spouse and the marriage. As this loss begins to produce gains, then you will find it easier to be a loser in other areas.

One word of caution though. When you start giving up some things in marriage, don’t expect to see immediate returns from your spouse. In the beginning, your spouse may raise their eye brows and wonder what kind of scam you’re trying to pull. Give it time. When your spouse sees that your losing is more life-style than manipulation, they will gradually become more willing to lose some too.

Now, go out there and lose one for the team!

An Important Note: I know this post could be misconstrued and could even be offensive to those who are in abusive marriages. Please understand it is not my intention to say that those in abusive marriages should just “suck it up and take it.” I would tell those in abusive marriages that abuse is not to be tolerated. If necessary, a spouse may need to separate themselves from the abuse until it can be corrected. This post is meant for more “normal” marriages without the presence of abuse.

Leave your thoughts and comments to add to the conversation.

Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg

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