A few months ago, I wrote about 7 Things You Shouldn’t Sacrifice for a Relationship, including emotional needs, communication and self-worth. However, sacrifice is a significant part of any healthy relationship. You shouldn’t constantly be taking what you need from your friend or partner and never giving anything in return. So what are the things we should be willing to give up for the sake of another person?
This is a big one. We get so busy with our lives that spending time with each other — significant, intentional time — gets pushed back for other things. Not only do we have to sacrifice activities to keep a relationship strong, sometimes we have to sacrifice “alone time,” and that gets tricky for an introvert like me. It’s important to find a balance.
Personally, having someone make time for me is how I interpret love. Even if it’s just a quick note to ask me how I’m doing, I feel cared about when someone makes that effort.
It’s been reported that finances are the leading cause of stress in marital relationships. If one person is a spender and another is a saver, conflict will arise. For couples, sharing incomes is a new and stressful journey they may not be prepared for. “Money doesn’t sound very romantic, so it is often the last thing couples think about — or talk about — when they are dating,” write Scott and Bethany Palmer in “How and When to Have ‘The Money Talk’.” “Would that remain true if couples realized every day of their lives involves a decision to be made about money?”
The sacrifices associated with finances may not only mean giving up dollars from our pockets, but also a willingness to have difficult discussions and adjust our spending habits.
Whenever I realize I’m thinking about myself too much, I recall a quote from the TV show “Reba”: “There are millions of stars, circling millions of moons, that are circling millions of planets in millions of galaxies, that all revolve around just one point in the universe. That point is not you.”
But it’s so easy to focus on me all the time, because my needs, thoughts and desires are always in my head! It takes effort to think about someone else. It takes willpower to put them first. And yet, when we attempt humility — when we decide we don’t need to “win” an argument, or we close our mouths instead of saying something hurtful, or we let the other person talk and just listen — our relationship evolves into a two-way street instead of a one-way. We follow Paul’s example by “bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
The healthy couples I know are often tired people. They give up rest for each other in order to spend quality time together. As a single person, I’m tired, too. Spending time at home alone is how I recharge, and I need those days where I do nothing. But sometimes I take fewer of them, because devoting energy to my relationships is important to me. When I get a call from a friend who needs a ride to the airport at 2:00 A.M., I say yes (partly because I will do anything for my friends, and partly because then they’ll feel guilty when I need a favor, naturally).
5. The Need to Be Right
But I’m right and he’s wrong! Why can’t he just acknowledge that?
I get so frustrated when I know something to be true, yet someone doesn’t believe me or disagrees. But more often than not, the discussion is about something that doesn’t really matter in the long run. “I know you said we would meet at 5:00, not 6:00; it’s your fault I waited here for an hour!” “I know you got that detail in your story wrong; here’s how it really went.” “I know Han shot first.” (Well, that last one’s pretty important.)
But if I give up my need to be right (and not with a sarcastic, “Whatever you say”), I find freedom in placing the relationship above my pride.
6. The Desire for Perfection
It’s weird how I expect perfection in others when I’m so far from it myself. The people close to me are going to have bad, grumpy, horrible days. They’re not always going to treat me right. They’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully I can accept that, because then I won’t be a hypocrite in expecting them to accept me.
I am a very private person, and prioritizing that was detrimental to my relationships growing up. Sharing physical, emotional and spiritual space made me uncomfortable. I failed to recognize that braving vulnerability has its benefits. Facing emotional struggles alone is so much harder than if you have people around you praying for you and encouraging you. Seriously. Being alone almost destroyed me. Also, sharing intimate details about your life actually gets easier the more you do it. Who knew?
When people truly care about each other, they are willing to make sacrifices. Jesus did it, and so should we. It’s such a crucial element to relationships, and I’m sure there are ideas missing from this list. What do you think is important to give up for the sake of another person?
Copyright 2017 Allison Barron. All rights reserved.