For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. - Mat. 16:25
I had an actress who was dating a man with a serious mental condition - a form of psychosis that causes lifelong problems. They were shacking up.
While she was on tour with me, he let the dog out of the yard. He did this by not being attentive - a simple mistake, and one that guys often make and that gals rightly get furious over. The dog was missing for about 24 hours. The actress was very worried - but every time she talked to the boyfriend on the phone, she was very careful not to blame him for the very thing that was simply his fault. She was afraid her being real with him would cause him to slide into some sort of a psychotic episode.
Some relationship, huh?
They eventually got married.
What kind of marriage, I wondered, can be based on such unreality? On accommodating such a large elephant in the living room and pretending it's not there?
I should not mention elephant and obesity in the same breath, but my marriage has suffered from a similar Unreality.
My wife Karen badly needs to lose weight. It's becoming a major health issue for her. And yet for all of these years the kids and I have treated her as if she were a psychotic who had let the dog out and who'd go crazy if we simply said, "Why did you let the dog out?"
I am, finally, confronting the issue - and helping her to. It's not easy, but all along the family has been afraid - but he that will save his wife shall lose her, and he that shall lose his wife for His sake shall find her.
It's when we compromise, when we fudge things so that we won't take the risk of losing them, that we turn around and find we've lost the very thing we were trying to clutch onto and make our own.
The words of Our Lord are true in a religious and sacrificial sense, and deeply true psychologically.
In fact it may even be said more bluntly: the only way to find life is to sacrifice it.
Meanwhile, it is never easy for men and women to communicate ...