The third principle of a healthy marriage according to Saint Paisios the Athonite is Sacrifice. The Elder often uses the terms “love” and “sacrifice” together – where one is, there the other will be. In a marriage, as with any relationship, the bond between the two persons is stronger the more that each person is able to see the viewpoint and perspective of the other. We can learn to do this by making sacrifices for the other person, learning to lay our will aside for their sake. As we practice this, we gain the perspective of the other and begin to see their needs before they vocalize them. Sacrifice in marriage is necessary for bonding and increasing the mutual love between spouses. The Elder puts it this way, “If there is love, if there is sacrifice, one will always arrive at the standpoint of the other, understand the other, have compassion for the other…This is why (the couple) must always strive to preserve their love throughout their life; they should sacrifice themselves for each other.
Self-sacrifice makes it possible to live in a beautiful and loving relationship where the freedom and autonomy of each person is preserved, while the bond of togetherness remains strong. This is so because each of us have a will of our own, a free-will and gift from God that is ours to exercise. Until our will become more naturally aligned with the will of God, self-sacrifice must be forced. The awesome sacrifice of God for mankind was possible because the will of the Son was aligned with the will of the Father – as agonizing as it was. In fact, one of the most beautiful icons in our Church says something about this aspect of marriage: It is the image of Christ, robed in purple, hands bound while holding the reed that will be used to beat him, while blood trickles down from the crown of thorns placed on His head. This icon is called “The Nymphios”, or Christ “The Bridegroom”. This icon reminds us that we are called to a type of martyrdom in marriage: to be sacrificed unto the shedding of our metaphoric blood. It was through the ultimate Sacrifice that our salvation was accomplished, and it will be through our many smaller sacrifices, “mini martyrdoms”, that our marriages will be perfected and our love purified.
 Family Life. Pg. 46-47