Sacrifice is Not Enough

August 19, 2013

in Acts of Service, Be a grownup, Headship/Submission, Marriage Killer, YOU4HER

Seen on-line: “You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s life ahead of yours and think that counts as love.”

I talk a good deal about “you for her”, acts of service, and how you should be ready to sacrifice for your wife. That is all good, important, and a result of love, but just doing those things does not mean you are loving well!

Doormat © John Kasawa |

Some folks play doormat – always letting others walk all over them, maybe even inviting it! Often this is a result of a low self-image, other times it is a result of fear or a bad example from growing up. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding of the Bible’s instructions to “count others more significant than yourselves.”

The “count others more significant” passage is found in Philippians 2:3-4, and there’s more to it:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” [ESV, emphasis mine]

The Bible doesn’t tell us to ignore our own needs, feelings, or desires, but to find a balance between what we find important and what others find important. Most of the time that balance should tip in favour of others, but tip, not tip over! A very long time ago, someone told me Love your neighbour as yourself” didn’t work if you didn’t love yourself! Exactly right; not liking ourselves is not the basis for a healthy marriage.

If you don’t care for yourself, if you won’t stand up for yourself, and your wife will find it difficult to respect you. I’ve known nice guys who did everything for their wife who ended up divorced because she used him until she had no respect left for him and then moved on. If you see yourself in this, I suggest you do some significant thinking and praying. Figure out why you’re a doormat, and make changes before it’s too late.

Women also play doormat. Some were taught this is how a woman is supposed to act. Some call it submission; others say a man will leave a woman if she doesn’t give him everything he wants. For a time a man may find benefits from such a wife, but unless he’s exceptionally selfish he will grow weary of it. Women can also do this with their children, which is bad for them and the kids.

If your wife has any doormat tendencies, talk with her and try to help her find a better balance of her needs and everyone else’s needs. 

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I am a doormat.  Every three years I hear "you are special" but there is no proof in they way I'm treated.  Maybe our greatest sacrifice is to be a doormat.


Finding that balance is tough, but it is also very important to do!!


This is an area I really struggle with - knowing what are appropriate boundaries in marriage - knowing when it's okay to say "no" in order to take care of myself vs. when saying "no" is just being selfish... Things like taking "a day off" to just rest, or turning hubby down in order to get enough sleep, or insisting that we buy healthier foods vs. the most inexpensive foods which cause me tummy troubles, or pushing to take a couple of days vacation just to get away...

What falls under the category of self-care, and what is just plain selfish?? 


Paul, thanks for sharing this, it is such an important aspect in every relationship. I might have titled it as 'Maintaining Boundaries' :) Nevertheless you've explained it very well, thanks for reminding us. When you grow up under the roof of very controlling parents you almost loose a sense of where the boundaries are with anyone for that matter. We may feel we're being obedient as children or submissive as wives but in actuality a relationship suffers without boundaries, and where they are in place, people on either side flourish. One knows when to back off and the other learns to express themselves and make their own choices, plus take responsibility for it. 

I liked the eg. of nice guy getting divorced, sounds so ironic but so true, i know a nice lady getting separated, first getting the rap from her husband and now from her son. Giving in all the time is never helpful.


From my experience, usually when I see someone "playing doormat"  it is a classic case of fearing "man"... always trying to please "man" rather then God, not wanting anyone to have any harsh feeling towards them, trying to "keep the peace" at all costs, etc.  Now I was one on the other side of pendulum of not caring enough about others and would easily roll over them.  We all have to learn (from the Holy Spirit) the delicate balance of knowing when to stand and knowing when to lay our life's down as a sacrifice.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@cej There is no easy line. It is not just where you are, but where your spouse is. If I had a very tong hard day at work, my wife would likely take the trash out for me. If I had the same long hard day and she was sick, I'd do the trash and fix dinner so she did not have to.

Health and sanity are important, so they get an extra push in my book. The other thing is looking at how often each of you feels the need to hold back. If one of you does it too much that is either selfishness or a sign that your life it way to busy.

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