Love is Sacrifice but can be Rewarding
When we hear that love is sacrifice, certain iconography springs to mind. The sacrificial love of religious figures, Romeo and Juliet or the endless stream of songs that explore the various shades of the phenomenon known as love.
Sacrifice and love are so intertwined in our consciousness that we sometimes lose perspective on their meaning in functional relationships. So when is sacrifice a healthy gesture in a relationship in the form of compromise, and when do you have to value yourself more than love?
What is the role of sacrifice and love in a relationship?
The first and most important thing to note is that sacrifice shouldn’t be seen in negative terms. You may be giving up something you enjoy in return for giving back to your partner in pursuit of relationship harmony.
Love is a sacrifice because when you try to build a life together, there are certain things from single life that you need to let go of for something deeper to take root in your shared existence.
Without mutual sacrifice, you can’t maintain a healthy relationship because there will always be parts of each other’s personalities that clash somewhat.
Some examples when love is sacrifice
One of the first sacrifices in a relationship is a part of our independence. You start to share more activities as a couple. This is natural: we have to be willing to meet some of their expectations, which can get in the way of you doing whatever you want whenever you want to.
You may also have habits – maybe being a night owl or going with your friends every Friday – that, while not inherently unhealthy, may need to be adapted as you try to get on the same wavelength. It’s normal that your single lifestyle is different to when you’re involved with someone. So where sacrifice and love are concerned, it’s about realizing there are two passengers on this journey now.
Love without sacrifice isn’t really love at all because you’re never truly meeting in the middle. If one half of the couple makes all the sacrifices, they will only become resentful with time.
When we sacrifice too much
Love is sacrifice but it’s also compromise, joy, intimacy, shared experiences and partnership. If sacrifice becomes the central component of your relationship, it may be time to reconsider.
Sacrifice should always work both ways and never feel like you’ve given up too much. Expecting your partner to sacrifice something important to them, something that really brings them joy, is unhealthy and selfish. You need to find a good middle ground and lead by example.
Maintaining existing friendships is a common challenge in a relationship. The less time you get to spend with your friendship group, the more the nature of your friendships change. This is something you should discuss with your partner and compromise on, before your relationship starts to feel claustrophobic.
Sacrifice and love should always find a good balance, which you can help by consistently communicating your feelings and needs with your partner.
It’s important that sacrifice never leads to a loss of personal identity because who you are is what they should love most and be least inclined to change.
Self-sacrifice vs self-care
That love is sacrifice is a beautiful and fulfilling notion for the growth of a relationship. But just like compromise, it must be balanced with self-care. Just because you’re building something with your partner doesn’t mean your needs, dreams and passions are no longer important. Maintaining a clear notion of self is vital to a healthy, lasting relationship.
So while self-sacrifice is about putting others’ needs ahead of your own, self-care is about putting yourself first. When it comes down to it, you should always value yourself and your well-being over a relationship.
Self-care is about maintaining relationships that enrich your life, indulging in those small joys that make up your day and focusing on personal growth. It’s about continuing to pursue your goals and ambitions. Sacrifice and love are just ingredients in the whole thing, not it’s only components. Despite being a couple you need to maintain separate identities and paths through life.
Support your partner without sacrificing your well-being
It’s easy to see how we can go a little overboard with self-sacrifice. The truth is, there will always be tension and times when one of you feels they’re giving up a lot more than the other. You may have moved cities for them or upset your entire family dynamic.
This is significant and should be met with appreciation from your partner. A positive, generous partner should recognize your contribution to making a relationship work and take it on board so you can stay in harmony.
Love is a sacrifice but an enriching one
There are a host of rewards when we recognize that love is sacrifice but can still be done healthily and not at the cost of self-care.
Beyond strengthening your emotional connection and feeling a deeper sense of commitment, it can also help you mature as a person through learning to put aside your own needs and feel like a better, more developed person than when you were single.
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