Big Brother Says Marriage Is Not About You

by Yvonne Chase on March 5, 2014


Last Breath
Four years ago today, my big brother Dalton Chase took his last breath and went to his new home in heaven.  Prior to this, we had numerous conversations about marriage.  Today I stopped by to share one of those conversations with you but first, a little back story.

Barely Got Sick
Dalton was a 6ft tall, dark chocolate handsome man with a chiseled athletic build.  He enjoyed working out and did so just about every day of the week.  He also enjoyed playing his favorite sport soccer.  The only time he ever had to be rushed to the hospital was when he injured his knee while playing soccer.  Aside from that, he was a healthy, physically fit active man who barely, if ever got sick.

The Beginning Of The End
One day, clear out of left field, Dalton started feeling weak and his body felt very stiff.  That was the beginning of the end.  Lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis and other autoimmune diseases ate his body away from the inside out.  At the end of his life, when he took his last breath, he was 6ft and 100 pounds; a far cry from his once chiseled frame.

Happily Ever After?
When Dalton married, neither he or his wife ever imagined this would be their reality.  Like most couples, they expected to live happily ever after barring the normal everyday challenges.  Dalton always said, the marital vows are what they are for a reason.  “One of you will get sick.  There will be times of richness and poorness and there will be times when things are wonderful and then going south.  Do as much due diligence as you can while dating and courting to learn the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with and prepare for the journey ahead.”  Here’s our conversation…

Me:  So big brother, What would you say about marriage to a single woman desiring marriage?

Him:  If two people come into marriage recognizing that it is not about me but about my spouse’s comfort and about service, this attitude paves a good road for the marital journey.  At our core, we are basically selfish people – we think about what it is going to be like for me not what I can do for the other person.  Marriage is service to each other.  Its a reflection of Gods love for us.  You minister to your spouse by serving him and looking out for his best interest.

You cannot live by your feelings in marriage, or in life for that matter.  Your love for your spouse has to be an act of the will. You have to be a wife and husband doing what you have to do with love joyfully without grumbling and complaining.

Check your expectations.  Men and women have unrealistic expectations about marriage and often enter into it wearing rose colored glasses.  Take off the glasses and really look at the reality of your vows.  What could they really mean? Can you handle in sickness and health for richer or poorer till death do you part?  How does your fiances life evidence commitment and hanging in there when the going gets tough?  Marriage is daily work and the majority of that work is on you not your spouse.   We need to daily ask ourselves,  How can I change? What do I need to do differently? How can I become a better spouse?

Me:  How can a  single person avoid bringing a singular attitude into marriage?

Him:  Find opportunities to serve. When you are single, the only person you think about is you; what you like, what you want, what works for you, how you want it and so on and so forth.  If you don’t find opportunities to serve others, chances are you will show up in marriage looking out for your own interests.  There are many ways to serve.  If you have no one to spend Thanksgiving with, go and serve the less fortunate.  Whatever you do, make it your business to find opportunities to serve.  I can’t emphasize this enough; cultivating a servant’s heart is key before saying I do.  Marriage is all about service to your mate.   Its about two people waking up daily with one question on their minds; “How may I serve you today?”

Find a marriage mentor. The older women should teach the younger women how to be wives.  A single woman should place herself under the wings of an older woman who is married and has a good marriage so that she can learn how to be a godly wife to her husband.

Educate yourself about marriageAlthough you haven’t experienced it yet, there is no reason to walk into it blindly.  Read books about marriage.  Attend a relationship class, workshop or seminar.  There is an intensive class and process for obtaining your driver’s license but no such class exists for the most important commitment you will make in life.  In most states, all you need is $25 to obtain a marriage license, a license that could change the lives of everyone around you for better or worse.  We spend so much time preparing for careers and so many other things in life while we spend little to no time preparing for marriage.

Compassionate Compromise
In his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman, Pastor John Hagee agrees with Dalton.  He says, Marriage is more than a honeymoon; it’s a lifetime covenant.  Through sickness and health, for richer and for poorer, marriage requires devotion and a mature ability to commit when it’s the last thing you want to do.   Marriage is the act of two incompatible people learning to become compatible via compassionate compromise.


Something to think about…

What say you? Have you ever had to deal with anything like this in your marriage? What advice would you give to a single person preparing for marriage?

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

1.  Leave a comment below

2.  Share this post if you like it

P.S. I wrote this post four years ago and I update it every year.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Lena Willis March 31, 2011

I was married before and did NOT have a good example of marriage in my life, nor did I seek out a marriage mentor. However, contemplating the second time around, I fully understand this article and why each of these is so important. In particular, the point about serving your mate, I love how you mention that the husband and wife serve each other, it is not one-sided at all, or its not supposed to be. I’m glad that you can still use your brother’s example and learn from his marriage. Its helpful…


Yvonne Chase March 6, 2014


Blessings to you the second time around. My brothers marriage taught me a lot. Glad its helping you and so many who read it.


Mrs.AOK March 6, 2014

First off, I’m terribly sorry for your loss. Your brother sounds like an awesome man! I’m glad he had a strong loving woman by his side.
Marriage, isn’t you, it’s us, and each other. I grew up with a horrible example of what marriage was, with glimpses of good. I took the good and remember what was bad, therefore I do NOT do the same.
I married young, which means odds were against US.
We’re still together– this summer 13 years– it’s been us fighting the odds and sharing the love.
I’m grateful for the love he gives me and my babies. It’s the best thing!


Yvonne Chase March 6, 2014

@Mrs. Aok,

Thanks so much. He was a great guy. I miss him every day.

You’re right…marriage is us…its two people locking arms and walking through life; the good, the bad and the ugly together.

Sounds like you have a great man by your side. May God continue to richly bless your union. Congratulations on 13 years of marriage.


AwesomelyOZ March 6, 2014

I’m so sorry to hear about your brother – it sounds like an awful drawn out illness. =\ Very wise words and all very true. It’s all spot on I think people blindly get into marriage all the time and its important to see the whole person for what they are. I also feel expectations are outrageous these days haha, women want too much of the wrong thing and ignore the most fundamental things in a relationship. Things take time to understand; I’m once divorced and if I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t be divorced! Lol Have a great one Yvonne! -Iva


Yvonne Chase March 6, 2014


It was the most awful, drawn out illness I ever seen. Just awful! I like what you say here: “Women want too much of the wrong thing and ignore the most fundamental things in a relationship.” Men and women are guilty of focusing on the wrong things.


JoAnne March 8, 2014

So sorry about your brother, Yvonne – he was a very wise person. This is the best article I have ever read about marriage. I will definitely be saving this one for my kids to read!


Yvonne Chase March 8, 2014

Thanks Joanne! So glad my brother’s wisdom is being used to enlighten others about marriage.


misssrobin March 8, 2014

What a beautiful tribute to your brother. He sounds like a wonderful man.

My husband and I didn’t have good examples of healthy marriage growing up. We had a lot of rocky roads as we struggled to learn the right way to behave and to treat each other in marriage. It’s been a hard slog at times. But we’re getting there. We’re finding our way. And it’s better than ever.

We’ve had lots of sickness and plenty of poverty to wade through, too. That’s one thing we handle pretty well. When things get rough, we pull together. I’m grateful for that because I see so many couples who pull apart when tough times come.

Thanks for giving me some things to think about and work on. Thanks for sharing your brother.


Yvonne Chase March 8, 2014


Its a pleasure to share my brother with you. He’s still blessing others even in his absence. My way of keeping his legacy alive.

No matter what comes your way, you and your hubby will make it because you do this; “When things get rough, we pull together.” That’s what you’re supposed to do. Tough times are meant to pull you together. Unfortunately you’re right, so many couples pull apart when tough times come.


All Talk Entertainment March 8, 2014

So sorry to hear about your brother. Such great advice he gave. It’s always so nice to hear from a man’s point of view. Thanks for visiting and I look forward to reading more about your blog. Stopping by from SITS


Yvonne Chase March 8, 2014

Whenever I can, I do my best to incorporate the male point of view into the conversation. Their voice is super important!

Thanks for stopping by!


Susie (The Esthetic Goddess) March 8, 2014

So sorry for your loss. I am sure it is still painful for you as you just learn to deal with this type of loss and never get over it. He is no longer in pain and is no that strong handsome man watching over you and your family.

There is nothing I can add to this fabulous post. I agree 110% with it. When you go through good and bad times in a relationship what you have in the end is an unbreakable bond. What could be better than that?!


Yvonne Chase March 8, 2014


It is still very painful at times because of the depth of my relationship with my brother. He was my favorite sibling. He was the only one who truly understood me and knew my heart. We “got” each other. He always thought the best of me and always understood my intentions.

He went through it all with a strength I pray for daily. In the dictionary, his picture should be next to the word resilient.

Thanks for a lovely comment!


God Life Happy Wife March 8, 2014

Yvonne thanks for sharing this post, and sharing the great knowledge of your brother. I’m sure he was a very wise man that left a great legacy. His words & wisdom are still inspiring many including me! I did not have great examples of marriage growing up but by God’s grace my hubby and I are changing all of that. We have our ups & downs but we are in it to the end. We are learning that our goal of our marriage is to glorify God. By the way I’m glad to have found you through Sorry Not Sorry Linky.


Yvonne Chase March 8, 2014


You hit the nail on the head. The goal of your marriage should be to glorify God.

Glad we found each other! Thanks for stopping by.


Mel Caldicott March 10, 2014

So sorry for your loss. Thanks so much for sharing openly and giving us this wisdom. Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
Mel from Essential Thing Devotions


Elizabeth March 12, 2014

This is wonderful advice! Your brother was a wise man.

I’ll add one thing. My husband tells our children to make sure they find a spouse who loves God more than they love them.

Thank you so much for linking up at Beauty Observed last Friday. I hope you’ll come back and link up again this week!


Yvonne Chase March 13, 2014


Yes, loving God more than your spouse is super important. I believe that is what allows a spouse to be selfless when they want to be selfish.


Shelly Hendricks (@Renewed_Daily) March 15, 2014

Yvonne, I am sending up extra prayers for you as you remember your wonderful brother. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

I have been married for almost 18 years, and was pretty much a force of nature until about 5 years ago, when I was stricken with a disabling chronic illness. It took them 3 years to diagnose me, and in that time I had doctors tell me that this was all in my head. Let me tell you, if my husband had not known me, trusted me, it would have been so very easy for him to side with the “experts” and that would have just crushed me. He has had to work from home and take over every task that I once performed with joy. It has been a difficult adjustment, but never once has he shown me anything but strength and joy to be with me. He tells me I am still a partner because I love him unconditionally and am still the same person he married on the inside, where it counts. I know how richly blessed I am.

When I see others who are taking vows, I often wonder if they realize the magnitude of what they’re entering. I know I didn’t. How can you unless you walk it? We talk with our children often about the importance of choosing well and prayerfully asking God into your choices and relationships, because with Him, none of this is possible. And it is way too sweet to miss out on because you’re in a hurry.

Thank you for such a wonderful post about the sometimes ugly things we have to face in marriage, and the courageous Godly people who stand with us, back to back, as we face it.

Heart Hugs, Shelly <3


Yvonne Chase March 15, 2014


I share this so others thinking about marriage go in with their eyes wide open. Sure I know people get sick and things happen however, I’ve never seen it at this magnitude. Taught me a whole lot!

Like you, “When I see others who are taking vows, I often wonder if they realize the magnitude of what they’re entering.” Thanks to my brother, I do. Good came out of bad.

Glad God blessed you with a rock of a husband. Glad he tells you you’re still a partner. That helps you get through those rough days I’m sure. You are indeed richly blessed to have a partner like him.


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