He must want kids.
He must value family.
He must be kind.
That was it. What I didn’t know then was just how many other concessions I’d have to make to keep my married ship afloat. Sacrifices over money, career moves, religion, schedules, and the infinitely annoying (albeit personally important) things like DVR space, movie selections, and decorative bedding were just the beginning.
Over time I reluctantly learned that mutual sacrifice (or rather compromise) served as the cornerstone of success in marriage. Sure, people always preached about compromise, but until you’re well-versed in the fine art of practicing mutual negotiation, compromise is nothing more than an idea that sounds good in theory.
While I’m all for sacrificing for the greater good, I’m wife enough to admit I keep mental score in my marriage. I may not remember much, but I’ll always remember who wiped the last poopy butt, because really, no one person should have do all the bending (or butt wiping) in a relationship.
We’ve all been called upon to make sacrifices in our relationships, but there are times we have to consider whether the sacrifice is worth the cost. Psychology Today suggests we ask ourselves four critical questions when it comes to making personal sacrifices for the sake of our relationships:
1. Does your partner understand your personal sacrifice?
No one’s suggesting you go around acting like a sacrificial lamb, but unless your partner understands your level of personal sacrifice, he may not recognize the selflessness you’re exhibiting for the sake of your relationship. What’s perhaps even more dangerous for my fellow scorekeepers is that he may not recognize his own call to selflessness next time your relationship presents an opportunity in your favor.
2. Would your partner make the same sacrifice for you?
Even when you’re being asked to sacrifice for a partner, it’s important to understand that the decision likely involves a sacrifice for the person doing the asking as well. Does your partner have a history of sacrificing on your behalf? Does your partner seem willing to make sacrifices in the future? Are you working together to make the very best decision? Intent, willingness, and understanding are the key factors in making sacrifice as comfortable as possible.
3. Does one of you want it more?
Chances are the answer is yes. It’s important for both parties address their desires and expected outcomes about the pending decision in an open and honest dialog.
4. Is there another way?
Have you explored all of your options? With a little creative thinking, you and your partner might be able to come up with a better solution that requires less personal sacrifice. Put your heads together and see what you can come up with!
What sacrifices have you made for the sake of your relationship?