Many years ago, a close friend talked about a relationship he was in. The partner in the relationship accused my friend of not putting in enough in the relationship. "Why am I sacrificing so much?" was a common thing he heard. 

He then said to me that if one party feels like they are sacrificing more than the other, the relationship is likely doomed. I remember thinking that I had never heard or thought of that before. I always believed that a relationship was about mutual sacrifice and life was about give and take. But for whatever reason, those words stuck with me. 

Earlier today, I listed to a caller on the Dave Ramsey show. A lady was complaining about her husband of decades and their finances. She explained that he had brought a debt of $700,000  from his business. In order to pay that off, both she and her husband followed Ramsey's program and reduced the debt to just $60,000 over many years. The lady shared that achievement in a very nonchalant way and proceeded to talk about what she had to give up for it. She complained that she was unable to be a stay at home mom and raise her kids the way she wanted. She had to have 2 jobs to help pay the debt. Now her kids were all grown and the debt was close to getting removed but she was feeling empty. After all those years of sacrifice, she resented her husband for the debt that forced their life to be a certain way. Her words were - we have been working hard for so many years for his dreams. What about me?

I listed to this woman and recalled my friend's words. If the sacrifice wasn't balanced, the relationship would suffer. I wondered if this woman would stay married for too much longer. I wonder what is the right amount of sacrifice and how can it be transactional if it were love. Then I wondered, can love be balanced? Or is it just about sacrifice without reaching the point of resentment? 
I believe that in any relationship sacrifice has a shelf life. As in when the balance of sacrifice is maintained -- both sides equally sacrifice -- then the sacrifices won't feel like sacrifices. They will feel simply as bidirectional gifts. I love giving to you because it feels like giving to me.

But over time if the balance is unmaintained then the sacrifices begin to actually feel like sacrifices. Once this point is reached then someone is holding their breath. And no matter how big your lungs, you must eventually breathe.
2021-01-23 20:47:52
Very well put Sir Abe. Very well said. How does one maintain the balance is the question. 
2021-01-24 00:40:54