Most of us would like to call ourselves ‘givers,’ but the very idea that we must ‘sacrifice in a relationship’ has many couples shivering.
Sacrifice in a relationship might seem to be a dramatic concept for a few. It might bring imagery of one of you working seven different low-paid jobs, while the other pursues a dream of being an artisté or some other frivolous pipedream!
For many of us, the sacrifice in a relationship means completely, unequivocally giving up what we want to do so that someone else gets to do what they want to do. Sacrifice in a relationship indeed sounds scary if this is how you perceive it!
But before we run for the hills claiming the unbound freedom of the single life – let’s take a look at the value of sacrifice and the ways that sacrificing in a relationship can actually be good for us.
What does ‘sacrifice in a relationship’ actually mean?
Contrary to the belief that sacrifice in a relationship means essentially giving away your life to another, we can actually learn and grow from putting the needs of someone else and the relationship’s needs on the same level as our own.
The willingness to set aside our desires for a time in order to be in service for another is a characteristic of a giving human being. That willingness to sacrifice in relationships shows a deep level of care and commitment for another.
So, what does it mean to make a sacrifice in a relationship?
Here’s a story of my dear friend:
Her fiancé moved cities to be with her, which was certainly what some might call a ‘big relationship sacrifice.’ But he did it because he wanted to. And he happened to live in a beautiful home right by the sea.
He may have sacrificed a party pad in a huge vibrant city, but actually, the move to the ocean was more aligned with his true calling to be closer to nature.
And by the same token, my friend usually travels for at least 3 or 4 months of the year. But she is also in love with someone who wants to stay at home.
Why would she jet off and hang out by herself on a beach somewhere when she could snuggle with her partner by the fire?
So really, you can see here how sacrifices in relationships are all in the perception.
So, sacrificing in a relationship implies choosing something that really matters to you, rather than something you have to give up.
Why do people make sacrifices in relationships?
Think about the times you have been there for a friend in need, often dropping other plans to be by their side. That’s a sacrifice in a relationship you made.
Taking your niece to the movies instead of lunch with your best friend is again an example of sacrificing your happiness for the sake of your loved one.
These seemingly small gestures mean the world to those you support. Sacrifices in a relationship show that you care for your loved ones.
The real essence of making sacrifices lies in small things. Sacrifices in relationships don’t have to be these huge sweeping gestures.
They are small everyday actions with giving as the core motivation. It’s picking up groceries when you know someone you care for is just too tired.
It’s just about making a loved one’s life a little bit easier. It’s that easy!
Sacrifices you need to make in a relationship
Now that we’ve established that there is value in making sacrifices for love and that it’s actually healthy, let’s look at the sevenmain areas that are going to require sacrifices if you want a successful and loving partnership.
We do not have all the time in the world. Our minutes and hours on planet earth are finite. And I don’t mean that in a morbid way.
It just means that we have to be careful and conscious of how we spend those precious hours. Sacrifice in a relationship means giving up some of your own time.
Alone time is undoubtedly important for self-reflection and development, but there is value in that sacrifice.
If someone you care about needs you right before a massage, then it’s okay to punctuate your preening with the gift of your time for those you love. Making sacrifices for others is important. These are things you just do in a relationship.
We need to be as flexible with our time for each other and not become rigid. Your loved ones will appreciate you making sacrifices for love.
This is a big one. Set the scene: After a hard day at work, you have absolutely zero motivation to cook dinner. You get home totally fatigued, and your beloved isn’t back yet.
You get a message from them. They’ve had a day from hell, and they are starving, and they won’t be home for another hour at least.
What do you do?
Or do you muster up the energy and think, “Okay, the person I love most in the world is an anxious wreck, and I know how much they love my spaghetti bolognese. If I whip that up tonight, it’s going to make them feel so loved, appreciated, and less wiped out”.
That’s an energy sacrifice right there. And so is doing the dishes when the love of your life is passed out on the sofa from sheer exhaustion.
Rigidity is a recipe for disaster, and the more work you can do to bring emotional flexibility into your relationships, the healthier they will be.
And it can’t be only one of you that is literally bending over backward. You both need to do the work and sacrifice for love.
It isn’t easy. But we have to learn to embrace the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others.
We may not agree, but we also don’t have to make our significant other concede on absolutely everything. After all, it’s not a warzone!
Relationships are not a competitive battleground. Sometimes we have to just sit and listen, be present, and not immediately jump into the ring with rebuttals and contrary viewpoints.
Over time we can learn that we don’t need to have the last word. That it’s not always about being ‘right.’
Sometimes it’s just about being ‘there,’ and accepting that sometimes love is a sacrifice!
4. The constant urge to seek perfection
Nobody is perfect. Our flaws are what make us so beautifully human.
It’s really worth remembering here that we don’t wake up every single day in the world’s most compassionate mood with the patience of a saint.
Some days we are mean and crabby, and we need to accept that everyone else has days like that too.
Part of sacrificing in relationships is learning how to manage those moods and helping each other out without nit-picking and being overly critical.
We all make mistakes and have bad days, be caring to your loved ones through these times, and you can expect them to be there to pick you up when you fall down too. These are things we do in relationships.
5. ‘ Me’ and ‘myself’
We live with ourselves 24/7, and we hear our own thoughts and desires, and needs constantly whirring within us.
It’s easy to think we are the center of our own world. But in reality, we are but a teeny tiny speck of stardust in an infinite universe.
I find this thought especially comforting when I get too wrapped up in MY needs and MY wants to the detriment of a loved one.
It takes great strength to think of someone else before yourself; it takes willpower to be able to act in a selfless way for the benefit of sacrificing for your relationships.
It’s not easy backing down in an argument, but do you really need to win every single time?
Hit the pause button and sacrifice in a relationship for love!
How would it feel to just take a pause and sit as a compassionate witness to the thoughts and feelings of others?
Instead of saying hurtful things, or acting from a place of making YOUR life easier, remember that your relationships are a two-way street; you can meet in the middle and not crash head-on.
Do you love alone time so much that your relationships suffer?
For those of us who like to go into hermit mode and hide away for days on end, not replying to messages or phone calls, sacrificing privacy can be incredibly hard.
There are some of us who like to try and deal with emotional issues in total isolation, but honestly, a problem shared is a problem halved. There is great value in sacrifice when it comes to sharing.
Allowing ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable and let loved ones into our private inner worlds has benefits beyond just having a shoulder to cry on.
Being open with each other naturally leads to greater levels of trust and intimacy and, therefore, a much deeper and more satisfying relationship.
Long-lasting partnerships involve sharing physical, emotional, and spiritual space. We have to sacrifice in relationships, including some of our privacy, in order for these relationships to go the distance and thrive.
Sacrificing privacy vs. keeping secrets
Some couples share absolutely everything – including bathroom breaks!
And some create specific times to share their private feelings. It’s up to you as a unit what kinds of privacy sacrifices you will make, remembering the difference between privacy and secrecy.
Privacy is something that establishes healthy boundaries. and secrecy builds walls. Making sacrifices in relationships should build trust, and keeping secrets undermines that trust.
Bills, bills, bills! Definitely not something anyone brings up on a first date. Or even a third. Talking about money isn’t exactly the most romantic topic on the agenda.
But what if we removed the taboo of ‘money talks?’
Surely revealing our spending habits sooner rather than later could help avoid the woes of finding out a few months down the line that one of you is a ‘big spender,’ and the other is extremely thrifty.
It’s never going to feel comfortable bringing up money imbalances or pointing out bad spending habits. But we need to be able to see the value in the sacrifice of momentary comfort and have difficult conversations about money.
Long -term love involves shared monetary responsibility, sacrificing your own shekels for the benefit of the relationship. What if one of you gets sick and the other has to do the grocery shopping for a while?
What if one of you loses a job? Will you be willing to help each other out and give up personal money?
These are things you do in a relationship. These are all important conversations to be having and can establish the extent to which you are willing to sacrifice in your relationship.
Pros and cons of sacrificing in relationships
Now that you know what it is to sacrifice in a relationship, let us have a look at some of the obvious pros and cons of sacrificing in relationships.
A longer and more prosperous relationship
Sacrificing in a relationship increases the likelihood of long term happiness. Showing you care by sacrificing for love makes the other person feel valued and a top priority.
A happy partner
The willingness to sacrifice for your relationship shows that you care for your partner. A partner who feels loved and cared for is more likely to reciprocate with loving-kindness towards you and the relationship.
Feeling good about yourself
Making sacrifices for others feels good. Just imagine your partner’s gratitude when you agree to give up your Saturday night to attend a work dinner with them!
Perhaps you were willing to make sacrifices early on in the relationship, only to discover that your partner isn’t quite as giving.
This can be addressed by having honest conversations about the kinds of sacrifices in the relationship that you are both willing to make.
Feeling like you aren’t being true to yourself
By giving up something you want to do or doing something you don’t want to do, all in the name of sacrificing for your relationship can feel inauthentic.
Inability to say ‘No’
You will know if you are making too many sacrifices in relationships if you often find yourself saying, “I just can’t say no” or “I’m exhausted from giving to other people all the time!”
While it’s clear that we need to make sacrifices for others, we also need to make sure that we are taking good care of ourselves.
The value of sacrifice can be seen in the balance of our most treasured relationships.
Importance of sacrificing in a relationship
Making sacrifices for your relationships, especially if you are married, is paramount if you want to go the distance. As per a study, there is a direct correlation between sacrificing and relationship satisfaction.
Giving your time, energy, and devotion to your partner doesn’t make you a pushover. It makes you a lovely, giving human being. And that will come back to you tenfold!
The value of sacrifice in marriage can be seen in those relationships that last the longest. Take a moment and think about all the ways you sacrifice for love in your relationship.
Do you make dinner when your spouse is tired?
Do you take time out of your day to show your partner how much you care?
Do you offer them a trusted place to share their innermost feelings, even when you’ve had a long day?
Are you willing to make sacrifices for your love and relationship that means you might have less time for yourself?
Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, directed an 80-year longitudinal study that unequivocally proved that whilst taking care of our bodies is certainly important, tending to our relationships is a form of self-care too.
We are at our healthiest when we are joyful and honest in our relationships!
This shows the importance of sacrifice in relationships, our longest commitment to love.
By being open, flexible, and willing to sacrifice for love, we actually create a better, more prosperous future for ourselves and the ones we care for.
We are protected from life’s discontents and early physical decline, and we actually live longer, all from being able to make sacrifices in relationships.
So, I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice in a relationship, especially if it means being able to spend more of my precious hours on this planet with the people I love the most!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.