Years ago an elderly woman came to see me. She was married to a miser who, when they were first married, made it known that it was “his” money. And so over the years she was careful about spending his money. Her girlfriends took pity on her and bought her a new dress; after all, this was her cross, they thought.
However, Christ’s cross gives life. What she was really doing was running away from the cross, and indulging her weak and fallen nature.
Her true cross would be to sit down with the miser and make it known, in a reasonable, responsible, and loving way, that since it was his house, his food, and his money, he could clean it, cook it, and bank it because she had needs of her own and would be finding a way to support herself.
That’s a denial of self that leads to life. The cross properly understood brings life out of death; in her case, death to the fear of her husband, death to her weakness. As a result, she would love herself more and love her husband properly, for love does not enable bad behavior. The cross gives life.