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Matrimonial Sacrifices

When it comes to Marriage (the Sacramental Covenant between a Man and a Woman that make them, as Husband and Wife, an inseparable One until and only in the case of corporeal death) the sacrifice required of a Husband is no less than Death. That death comes in many forms, and requires constant doing. If a Husband is not always dying for his Wife as taught by St. Paul and exemplified by Jesus, then he is no Husband.

In its simplest definition, a Sacrifice is an offering.

For a Husband, his Wife is a Gift from God. And he can only accept this gift knowing he would be offering himself constantly to God for his Marriage, in thanksgiving for his Wife.

A Husband also knows that even a constant sacrificing will not come close to equaling the perfect  Gift God has given him. But he sacrifices for her anyway.

An offering that is sacrificial in nature is freely giving something that will be impossible to reclaim once it is given. A Husband offers that which he knows he will not have and cannot take back once it is given to God if he gives it completely. But a true offering to God is sanctified – made Holy – by God and, not to be outdone, God gives it back, holier than it was when He received it. The Husband then receives it again (not taking it back, but getting it back), to offer to God in an even more holier form, receiving it again and again from an always giving God who will not be outdone in the giving. Indeed, the Seven Sacrifices a Husband makes are those gifts that God gave him in the first place.

The giving of self – Sacrifice – is a Man’s constant dying for his Marriage, which is why these are called Matrimonial Sacrifices. If they are not made with a heart that will do what Jesus does for His Church – die for her – then they are not Matrimonial Sacrifices – they are payments, conditional responses, or perhaps even spiteful acts, or maybe an attempt to do something without an understanding of its natural value.

The Matrimonial Sacrifices

Matrimonial Sacrifice Defined

A Matrimonial Sacrifice is the highest form of marital adoration, inspired by agape, in which a Husband in the name of the Marriage offers a victim in acknowledgment of God’s supreme dominion and humanity’s total dependence on God, acceptance of the absolute sanctity of the Marriage; and in thanksgiving for the perfection of his Wife for him and him for his Wife. The victim is removed from human use and to that extent destroyed as an act of submission to the divine majesty. Thus a Matrimonial Sacrifice is more than an oblation: Whereas an oblation offers something to God, a Matrimonial Sacrifice immolates or gives up to God for the Marriage what is offered. In Matrimonial Sacrifice the gift offered is something infinitely and eternally precious and received from God that is given completely to God by the Husband as a token of humble recognition of God’s sovereignty within the Man and the Marriage and thanksgiving for the Marriage and for what God has given to the Husband in Holy Matrimony: the perfect gift of his Wife. The victims of Matrimonial Sacrifice are Assets, Ego, Time, Position, Will, Labor, and Life.

(Adapted by ManHusbandDad from the definition for Sacrifice found in Modern Catholic Dictionary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.)

Giving What Has Been Given

A Husband dies for his Wife by constantly sacrificing to God for the Marriage what has been given to him by God.

Including his Life.

Just as a Man’s Moral Clarity determines his own measuring stick for being a Man (his Perfection as a Man) based on his God-given Aptitudes, so do those Aptitudes determine a Husband’s measure of his Covenantal Love by which he ofers these sacrifices. A Husband sacrifices to God for his Marriage primarily through this giving to his Wife – whom he has discerned is the Wife God has given him – to his utmost natural ability (his Perfection as a Husband; his Natural Calling), not to the measure of culture (the Cultural Calling of husbands). Not all Husbands can give the same – but they can give all of what they have been given. They can be Perfect as their Father in Heaven is Perfect.

A Husband is not perfect for a wife.

He is perfect for his Wife.

The Matrimonial Sacrifices, offered faithfully leading to perfection, cause the death of a Man to his former self – the self God made of him through these things he must now sacrifice back to God through his Covenantal, Sacramental Marriage.

His willingness and then active sacrifice makes him a Husband – no longer just a Man, and no longer the Man he was. He transubstantiates into a Husband built around the core of being a Man. Each offered sacrifice sanctifies him more fully, making him holier each time he offers it and receives it in return to offer again.

By giving what s given, constantly, he becomes a better Husband. He becomes the Husband he is supposed to be.

To Through For

In the text below you will see the phrase “through his Wife to God for the Marriage.” That is the significant order of sacrifice a Husband must understand. When we say “through his Wife” it may be confusing. This term here culturally translates into “for,” “to,” “with,” “because of,” etc. Society ad the culture will see a Husband make these sacrifices and think they are “to” or “for” his Wife, but the Husband and Wife know that they are sacrifices to God, with the Husband being the victim and the Wife being the mediator or intercessor through which that sacrifice is resented to God. The Marriage is the beneficiary of the sacrifice, as God sanctifies it and returns it to the Marriage, imbuing the perfect Holiness of the Matrimony with grace with which the Husband can continue to sacrifice in a more perfect way than he could before. The sacrifices build on themselves, creating layer after layer of more perfect Holy Matrimony.

Assets

sacrificing assetsA Husband sacrifices his Assets.

A Husband sacrifices his assets. An asset, in its simplest definition, is “a useful or valuable thing.”

We list this Matrimonial Sacrifice first because it encompasses what many think to be the absolute maximum someone must compromise on when they get married, whereas in reality a Man must know that to be a Husband, he must not compromise or share or negotiate his assets – he must offer with no expectation of return – sacrifice his assets.

And that is the absolute minimum; the start of a Man’s understanding of what it means to be a Husband.

Every asset a Husband brings to the Marriage became “ours” instead of “mine” when he Sacramentally declared himself a Husband before God and men. There are no separate bank accounts, cars, relationships or anything a Husband can or should call his alone.

If a Man retains attachment to his assets, he becomes the first offender in a long line of others who will try to do the one thing no person should do: Put asunder what God has joined together.

By clinging to his assets instead of sacrificing them through his Wife to God for the Marriage, he creates a division where there should be none. Even when he returns from the home improvement store, or receives a tool from his Wife for his birthday – those assets belong to the Marriage God created, not him.

Assets are how men culturally define themselves nowadays. Assets have nothing to do with a Natural Calling, so, while giving up his things may seem weird to people of this age – people of the Cultural Calling – it is as simple and natural to a Husband as anything.

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

Jokes aside about how I did not have many assets and brought a lot of debt instead, I was still very proud of the library I had amassed, among other things.

How much more proud I was to make that collection ours! By giving it to God for our Marriage, It has been a source of education and growth for our entire family. God has returned the gift a hundredfold, truly blessing our family with intelligence, entertainment, and countless years of things to talk about and share in common.

And I’ve never understood separate checking accounts. Please don’t do that!

Ego

A Husband sacrifices his Ego.

sacrificing egoA Husband sacrifices his ego; that is, his self-importance and self-identity.

A Man does not sacrifice his individuality when he Marries – he offers up his need for individuality through his Wife to God  for the Marriage.

By sacrificing his ego, a Husband places the One of Marriage before the two who combines to make that Marriage. Once a Husband and Wife are Married, they are together as One person – never to be separated.

The ego of a Man, if not sacrificed, can be deadly to the life of a Marriage, because it places “me” before “We.”

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

As a Husband, I know that when I am asked to make a decision I am deciding for HusbandAndWife, not Man. By sacrificing my ego, I can make decisions based on what is right for the Marriage, even though it may be detrimental to my own personal identity or individuality as a Man. I recognize that what is best for the Marriage is best for me.

I also know that I do not sacrifice my ego for my Wife, though the decision may benefit her more obviously. I am sacrificing and deciding for the Marriage.

I am a Stay-At-Home Dad. I work from the house and make less money than my Wife, who is the best Religious Educator in our entire Diocese, if not the country. I’ve been at home full-time since June of 2009. The ridicule and disrespect I receive from people even in my own parish is astonishing, really, when you think about Christian virtue and charity. Many look at me as a second-class citizen, and very few believe that I actually home school my children. They think my Wife does all that. A family member even called over the holidays to see if she could visit to ask us about home schooling, because she was going to be doing that for one of her children since the traditional school wasn’t able to handle his need. Imagine my surprise when she sat down with my Wife and asked questions for half a day – never once asking me even though the entire family knows I am home 24/7 with the kids, including shepherding the home school process and environment!

In that instance I was not very good at sacrificing my ego, because I did complain about it to my Wife later. I was hurt. I should have been much more charitable and less self-righteous and let it go – let my ego remain unsatisfied – because my ego has no place in a Marriage. My ego began niggling at me to plot revenge through mean comments and asides whenever I saw my family member, or drop a hint here and there that they missed out on asking the guy with the boots-on-the-ground experience. Fortunately, I did not have those opportunities before the plotting faded away, but if I were better at sacrificing my ego, I would have simply been glad that my Wife was having a good and productive visit with her closest family member, and that my nephew was going to be getting a great education from his passionate parent. I’m not even sure if I have sacrificed my ego if I am telling you this, ecause it still hurts a bit – and am I hoping a recording of this will find my family member someday? Ugh! The ego sucks…you should sacrifice it just because of that!

Sacrificing the ego means living in a “what’s in it for us” mindset, instead of a “what’s in it for me” mindset.

Making this sacrifice can be daunting for some Men, and because of that it is one reason why discerning Marriage can and should take a long time. Can a Man subordinate his egotistical Me to the greater We? It took me four years of actively subordinating my ego to that potential sacrifice of Marriage before I knew I was meant to be Married. And my ego still fights that decision – or at least tries to – every day. But the greater good always prevails…

Time

A Husband sacrifices his Time.

sacrificing timeThe time that a Man is given is no longer his when he becomes a Husband.

Time is a gift from God, to do with what He ordains us to do. Unfortunately, most people waste their time on earth, pursuing what they want to do, instead of what God wants them to do. This in and of itself is the primary cause for all the discord and suffering throughout history.

The Man who properly discerns his vocation is to be a Husband has already learned that God is his first priority and therefore his time is God’s. It naturally follows then that if God has called a Man to be a Husband, then his time must be devoted to the fulfillment (the doing) of that vocation ordained by God, and so a Husband sacrifices his time through his Wife to God for Marriage.

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

I wasted the time that God gave me for over forty years – or at least 18 after I was Baptized and became culpable for it. And I was Married for sixteen years before I began to realize how I had spent time as if it were my own – not God’s and not even necessarily my Marriage’s. My days, career, even parenting were on my schedule. For a stretch there, I even jealously guarded “my time” and if anybody imposed upon them – even my Wife in a few instances and my children in more than that – I let them know in some spiteful way that they had offended me.

I still struggle with doing what God wants me to do with His time. I’m getting better, having set purposeful goals and accountability to my Wife and children up, but dying my Time to God through my Wife for my Marriage is a difficult Agape for me.

Just think to one of those days when you have been super-busy and productive with family stuff – driving kids, grocery shopping, school meetings, scouts, making lunches, washing clothes – all that stuff. Don’t you feel better at the end of the day than when you spent the whole day on Facebook and refreshing the Drudge Report? Doing comes from sacrificing time, and God rewards us with the absolute knowledge at the end of the day that we have done what he has ordained us to do no matter how much it just seemd like chores and busywork and that we haven’t moved forward. There’s a reason we feel guilty after spending too much time on facebook. It’s because we are guilty – of wasting what God has asked us to give back to him through our Wife for our Marriage: Time.

We all have a limited time on earth. Are we going to ask God why he didn’t give us more time? The answer may be that we didn’t do what we were supposed to be doing with the time He gave us, so why should he give us more?

Position

A Husband sacrifices his Position.

sacrificing positionPosition, also “status,” is a Man’s place in culture and society. It is best defined by the answer a man gives when someone at a social gathering asks, “So, what do you do?” The answer to this question has been the definition of what a man thinks of himself and what society and culture think of the man for generations, and this question and answer have been a deflection from the true vocation of a Man, Husband, and Dad.

Position is brought to the forefront for a husband, because society and culture base the husband’s worth to it and the marriage by what he does for a living.

That is an incorrect evaluation, and is based on a Cultural Calling instead of a Natural Calling. Position – the DOING of a man or husband from culture’s perspective – is asking “what have you done for yourself or society.” A Husband sacrifices this fleeting, subjective and arbitrary status symbol through his Wife to God for his Marriage so that he can be receptive to what God wants him to do to support his being a Husband.

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

Look at these: I had 28 different business cards from 1993 to 2003! That’s an average of a new one every four months!I spent 26 years of my adult life trying to “be” or “do” something that would impress and command respect, through many industries as an entrepreneur. I was focused on what my answer would be if, at a social gathering, someone asked me, “So, what do you do?” even to the point of making sure my Wife knew what to say if someone asked her about me. It had to sound just right. Hello?! There’s something wrong when your Wife can’t even say, without coaching, Who you are or What you do!

But I finally figured it out: To a Husband who has sacrificed position or status, when asked “What do you do,” the answer is simple: “I am a Husband.” Sure it gets a funny look but it also instigates further questioning like, “I mean what do you do for a living,” which is then simply answered, “Whatever it takes to provide for my family. Right now I am __________.” This works for me, and this sort of response has within it the nugget of what anyone can say if they truly are firs a Husband.

As culture and society diffuse and the idea of a 45 year career at one company or in one industry falls apart, technology allows a Husband to market his services in a manner that divests him of position or status but permits him to pursue using his talents to provide for his family. This is a major win for the survival of the family in our modern, broken times and should be taken advantage of. I think it also mirrors to some extent the agrarian model of society, where the Husband constantly worked at home, prior to the consolidation of people and work in cities. It certainly fits the very natural concepts of subsidiarity and distributism.

Position gives us a cultural identity. We as Husbands do not need a Cultural identity – our Marriage identifies and defines us.

By sacrificing position, a Husband can fulfill his vocation as ordained by God to a higher level of the Aptitudes while more than adequately providing for the practical needs of his family. Working in conjunction with the Distributist economic model, sacrificing position is a Husband’s key to securing and promoting a future in society that embraces a more family-centered foundation.

Self-Will

A Husband sacrifices his Self-Will.

sacrificing willSacrificing “self-will” should not be confused with giving up one’s “free will.” Self-will is the tendency to be forceful in one’s pursuits for one’s own gain, stubborn adherence to one’s own desires or ideas, obstinacy. Sacrificing free will would be slavery.

The Self-Will is an important part of a Man’s life. It orders things in manageable forms as he matures and becomes awre of the world around him that he is in, but not of. With the Self-Will he can prioritize his actions to accomplish the goals that God has set before him, and the self-will is integral in helping a Man discern whether he should be a Husband or not. Then why should he sacrifice his Self-Will through his Wife to God for the Marriage?

Because a unlike a Man, a Husband is not himself. He is greater than the sume of the two parts that have combined into One. He cannot have a Self-Will, because he is not the self of the Marriage. He and his wife are the Oneself.

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

While “willfulness” might be a better term, it carries a negative connotation I want to avoid here. Sometimes will is important to accomplishing that which someone would rather not accomplish. And that is not the idea here, either.

What a Husband sacrifices when we are talking about “will” is the idea of doing something alone or having a “damn the torpedoes” approach to problem-solving or approaching obstacles – whether mental, physical, emotional or spiritual. Obstacles put the Aptitudes in crises and this is when Men tend to get laser-focused on confronting these crises with their Self-Will instead of the resources of the Marriage. Intentionally or not, this tends to put asunder the Marriage.

A Husband is not an entity by himself; he is part of a greater whole and must therefore subject his animal instinct to go it alone to the greater good of encountering and confronting life with his Wife in all things. Whether deciding to move to another country to pursue career goals or choosing to watch a football game or clean the garage, a Husband subjects his own self-will to the needs of the Marriage.

It is in this context that my Wife and I developed the concept that “The No always wins” while still on our honeymoon. Basically, it means that either one of us can say “No” to a decision, no matter how big or small, and that veto wins. It doesn’t mean we cannot continue the discussion, it simply means that one of us is not ready for the change at that time. We each know it is a serious consideration when one of us says to the other that “I will invoke the No if we continue down this decision path.” EACH AND EVERY decision is subject to the “No,” because each and every decision that we make as HusbandAndWife or as HusbandOrWife affects the Marriage.

My wife said “No” to a gun in the house for 12 years. That didn’t stop the discussion, it just delayed the decision from becoming a “Yes” until she had enough understanding of “why” to confidently embrace the decision to change our status quo. We then purchased a weapon, got licensed, and practice regularly. I didn’t go off and buy a weapon despite her protests sometime during those interim 12 years. I submitted my Self-Will – actively let it die to the Marriage – every day by not going forward with a gun in the house despite her protests. I did keep a baseball bat and hatchet handy, though!

I truly believe that the “No” should always win in a Marriage. It’s a significant key to the success of the Marriage, and a valuable tool for HusbandAndWife to actively help each other sacrifice their Self-Will.

Labor

A Husband sacrifices his Labor.

sacrificing laborA Husband does not work for himself, his Wife, a boss, or his own company or clients.

He sacrifices his labor – his ability to produce results and serve others – through his Wife to God for his Marriage.

The vocation of Husband by definition calls the Man to transubstantiate as a new being, joined with his Wife, in a relationship that no one can put asunder. If a husband, therefore, from his perspective, is working for someone else then he is no Husband. He, along with whomever he may think he is working for, is complicit in putting asunder his marriage.

This labor is not confined to professional labor – labor which earns money – but also volunteer efforts and work around the house. A married man who serves his church before his marriage is just as guilty of complicity to put asunder, as is the pastor or church who knowingly allows this. Though it may seem herculean and even a God-send, any husband who puts altruistic labor before his marriage is not being altruistic – he is providing labor at a cost of that which God has ordained – he is paying for it with his own marriage. This is a dangerous thing to do and unwise.

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

This Sacrifice comes relatively easy to me. Maybe this is because I have nothing prior to my Marriage to Labor for – such as familial relationships – that could get in the way. When I work, in some way it naturally benefits the Marriage and Family. It doesn’t pad some individual bank account or spruce up my buddy’s man-cave, though the latter may be a candidate for Labor if in doing so it helps strengthen my vocation as a Man in the “as iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man” way and adds to the relationships our Wives and Children have with each other.

But it should be easy for all of us. It’s reorienting our minds and our hearts to why we are working and who we are working for.

Sacrificing Labor is a mindset of why a Husband is doing what he does: The Husband has properly discerned who God wants him to be (a Husband), and God therefore provides the opportunities and labor that the Husband does to fulfill who he is supposed to be. That Labor is a gift from God that must be sacrificed through his Wife back to God for the Marriage.

A Husband can confidently say, in response to the Cultural Calling-oriented questions, “Who do you work for?” and “What do you do for a living?” with “I work for my Marriage!” And when a Husband volunteers for something or is engaged in a hobby, that labor helps others and benefits the Marriage as God returns a hundredfold the blessings the Husband bestows upon others with his Labor.

Life

A Husband sacrifices his Life.

sacrificing lifeA Husband sacrifices his life every day. The above sacrifices might lead someone to think they wouldn’t have a life to sacrifice after everything else! But the very breath he has must be sacrificed for his Marriage.

True, the other Sacrifices are a significant step toward actually sacrificing Life. Done faithfully, all a Husband should have left to sacrifice is his Life.

Marriage is a vehicle God uses to create a future that does not exist without Marriage. When two become one, only things that one can do or bring into being are possible. In order for two to become one, the ones – Man and Woman – must sacrifice themselves, their very lives as Man and Woman – to become Married. To become Husband and Wife.

I am not a Husband without my Wife. I sacrificed my life as a Man to attain the vocation of Husband, which is an indistinguishable part of a whole – Marriage.

Husband, Wife, and Marriage create a holy trinity indistinguishable from their unique beings.

From Kristofer’s The Things We Do For Love talk…

While maintaining characteristics of a Man, and being obligated to his first calling as a Man so as to bolster, support, and provide a continuing foundation for his vocation as Husband, the Husband becomes a Husband by sacrificing being a Man to the transubstantiated vocation of Husband when he gives and receives the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony with his Wife sacrificing his Life to God for their Marriage.

The physical sacrifice of life occurs every time the Marital Sexual Act is shared, as the Husband is giving the essence of Life itself, from himself, not to the Wife but to the Marriage, just as much as the Wide does. When he sacrifices his sperm to her sacrificed egg, they have both given their lives – which cannot be taken back.

They have made a Sacrifice of Life.

I really believe that this Sacrifice of Life is purposefully meant for creating New Life. It is in the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ that New Life rose again, and was made available to us. This Agape He did for us is the Agape we do every time we properly participate in the Marital Act. We die to each other, so that New Life may live.

Agape – the laying down of one’s life – is purposefully made complete in the Marital Act. This does not preclude that, yes, a Husband MUST die for his Wife if the situation arises where her life is in danger – but the likelihood of that situation arising is relatively slim. I think St. Paul knew this, and The Holy Spirit gave him understanding of what other ways a Husband must die for his Wife exist.

Everything that can affect a Marriage – which means EVERYTHING – must be regardd by the Husband as something he may cause him to sacrifice his life through his Wife to God for the Marriage. Evn the smallest, most insignificant thing can cause a Man not properly disposed tohis vocation as Husband to inadvertently deny his Marriage and proceed to live as a Man, which he no longer is. That discord or dichotomous life and lifestyle creates friction, stress, and strife in a Marriage, and specifically comes from a husband who has not accepted the fact that his Life is not his.

It belongs to God through his Wife for the Marriage. If we sacrifice it, God will return it, sanctified for the next sacrifice.

The Gifts That Keep Giving Back

Happy Husbands are the sacrificing Husbands, and they are the most ridiculed and persecuted people on earth. Just look around at media portrayals and you cannot deny the veracity of that statement. We know, though, that they are the closest to God, too. It is obvious that He has blessed them a hundredfold beyond what they have offered, and the price for that is temporal, earthly persecution. Are you ready for that?

Once a Man understands The Matrimonial Sacrifices; AND has discerned he is being called to make The Matrimonial Sacrifices for a Marriage with an as yet un-discerned Wife; AND is committed to making the Matrimonial Sacrifices for that MArriage – AND therefore BECOME the Husband he is supposed to be so he will be ready for the Gift of his Wife – then AND only then is he ready to continue the discernment process on becoming a Husband.

Because he can only become a Husband if he discerns that he should also be a Dad.

At this point it is okay to be scared.

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