Following the Easter Vigil, to celebrate the Resurrection (new beginning), my husband shaved off his beard. I wanted him to keep it (because I like his beard rather a lot), but he wanted to shave it, and so I stood back to watch him mow that razor across his face. Let us anticipate that it will grow back thicker (apparently this is a myth, but we will pretend it is true for the sake of this blog), which means that his beard I love so much will be even better than before—because I allowed my husband to do what made him happy. It’s what they call a win-win situation.
This is the relationship between love of self and love of other.
I confess I have often thought that to truly love my husband, I must forgo my good for his good. But God never wants us to do harm to ourselves. He always wants us to strive for our good, because we were created for good.
How is this possible, you ask?
Because, this time, it was indeed for my good that I let my husband shave off his beard—because it will grow back thicker than before, remember? My good and his good are not in opposition; rather, they flow in and out of each other. His good is my good.
But even if his beard does not grow back thicker (as it apparently will not), my good is that I learn to find happiness in his happiness. Consider the saying “Happy wife, happy husband” and realize that it can be reversed. Indeed, everyone can use it: happy other, happy self.
Suffering (or that initial annoyance at watching his beard plummet into the sink) does not mean that my good is being hacked to pieces. It may simply mean that I myself am being “shaven” that I may grow back even better than I was before.