Kyle and I had been married a few weeks when I ventured out for a day of shopping. Grabbing my purse, I shouted, "I'm going to the mall. Be back in a bit."
Before I got outside, Kyle appeared behind me with a big smile. "Have fun. I love you." Just seeing him made me realize how much I already loved being married. It was so great to have someone smile and see you off every time you left the house.
I returned his smile and was headed out the door again when I heard him say, "You can spend 30 dollars."
Not really thinking, I muttered a quick "Thanks." Then it hit me. Hold on. Did he just say I could spend 30 dollars? On what? Lunch? Turning, I smiled lovingly. "Um, I can spend 30 dollars? What does that mean?"
"It means you can spend 30 dollars. On whatever you want." He glowed with the pride of someone handing me a limitless credit card to fulfill my wildest shopping desires.
"I just worked up the budget, and you've got 30 bucks all to yourself."
Was he serious? Only 30 dollars to go shopping? My mind scanned the list of items I was hoping to buy: new jeans, casual skirt, couple of tops, tall black boots, fancy dress for nice date nights, casual dress for less nice date nights, silver hoop earrings, and new pajamas. And that was just the stuff I needed.
Before I was married, I could buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I didn't have to run it by anyone, and
I certainly never had a spending allowance. Just thinking about it was making me upset.
"Is everything okay?" he asked, obviously noticing my frustration.
With clenched jaw, I shrugged and mumbled, "I'm fine. See you later," and hurried out the door.
I spent the afternoon moping through the mall, angry and annoyed. Finally I decided to leave empty-handed, knowing deep down that Kyle would wonder why I hadn't bought anything, presenting me a prime opportunity to let him know what I thought of his lousy budget.
I came through the door extra pouty, but Kyle was nowhere in sight. Letting out a sigh, I slumped into a chair at the kitchen table. As I replayed the conversation I'd planned, I noticed a stack of papers. The top one was neatly titled "Monthly Budget."
Skimming past the necessary bills and monthly expenses, my eyes landed on a section titled "Extra Spending Money." Only one item was listed: "Nancy—$30."
That 30 dollars was the only extra spending money we had for the month, and Kyle was giving it all to me. All of a sudden, I felt terrible for my childish behavior. I'd spent the whole day sulking, imagining how I'd give Kyle a piece of my mind, and all along he was being selfless and generous.
I realized in that moment what marriage was all about: laying down your life and desires for someone else. I knew that Kyle had a long list of things he would've loved to spend that money on, but instead he gave it to me because he loved me and wanted to bless me.
I grabbed my purse and in 15 minutes I was back at the mall. Making my way to the camping section of the sporting goods store, I picked out the contraption I'd seen Kyle eyeing for months. Buying it for him gave me an overwhelming feeling of excitement and pride.
That night when he asked to see what I'd purchased, I gave it to him. Shocked, he studied the present and then me. "This is amazing, but what did you get for yourself?"
After some thought I answered, "I got to bless my husband."
That lousy 30 bucks taught me so much about marriage and love. Although selfishness comes easy, it ends up being unfruitful. If we focus on our own needs and desires, we end up fighting so hard to obtain them that we hurt each other in the process.
But if we work on being selfless and putting each other first, we'll both be blessed and secure. If Kyle focuses his energy and effort on meeting my needs and I focus on meeting his, there's no need to get caught up in being self-centered because we'll both be taken care of in the end. Even when we don't get what we want, we can rest assured that we're each doing all we can for the other.
Now, regardless of our circumstances, I'm confident that Kyle's doing everything in his power to put me above himself in all aspects of our marriage. And I'm working hard to do the same for him.
Nancy Floyd met Kyle in college—Kyle was a biology tutor to Nancy's friend; their favorite activity is traveling together.
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