PSYCHOLOGISTS suggest that if a partner is grappling with sacrifice in their relationship, it is time they reconsidered the need to make some changes.
In relationships, sacrifice is important but it can have serious psychological costs which can end up in sad moments for both partners.
Sacrifice entails that a person is giving up something they value for something or someone else.
Therefore, there is need for partners to look at what positive benefits sacrifice has in a relationship.
Sacrifice is also necessary when we want to maintain a healthy relationship although, in certain circumstances, we may be expected to weigh the options that may come with it.
Sadly, many times people change themselves for a partner’s sake, a situation that has created stress in some relationships, leading to disastrous moments.
It is important to know that if you cannot be yourself with the person you love and who loves you, you lose your identity which also takes away your happiness.
Every relationship requires give-and-take, which implies that if one partner sacrifices something important, it shows support for the other person.
Similarly, sacrificing too often and too much may result in a relationship creating resentment as the person sacrificing may experience lower well-being while the recipient may also have some mixed feelings about the sacrifice and their partner.
However, this may not be the case as we witness the rising cases of gender-based violence resulting from insecurity and jealousy, inconsiderate of one’s partner and many others, in some relationships.
During the week, I had an interaction with a young woman who was engaged to her partner and, along their three years of courtship, she got a scholarship to pursue a training programme abroad.
Surprisingly, she was given a choice by her partner to choose being away for one -and-a-half-years or ending their relationship.
It important to understand that some women are so vulnerable that many times they are insecure and fail to negotiate and compromise with their partners when matters of decision-making arise.
But who makes more sacrifices in a relationship and what is the biggest sacrifice a partner can make in a relationship?
Despite both women and men making sacrifices in their relationships, women have endured the bigger part because of gender roles attached to them.
Take the sacrifices that are made by women that lead to giving up their individual professional careers when their partners are globe-trotting for a better future or simply when asked to without convincing reasons.
Some women have had to stop working or end their career because they either had to choose to keep their families or join their partners regardless if there is no opportunity for them to work in that location.
For instance, one woman shared how she has given up on her own preferences and goals because her partner has had to switch jobs in different locations where she could not practice her field.
“Some of us women are not stay at home mum’s by design but we have had to sacrifice to have a life to live together as a family,” she said
When asked if she was aware that sacrifice was a personal choice, she said her concern was raising children who would live separate away from either their father or mother and also the fear that the affection with her partner may fade.
And another young woman said at the time she was getting married, she had different spiritual beliefs from those of her partner but had to sacrifice and join his religion.
Yet another woman said she failed to pursue her dreams because her partner said he could allow someone else to care for the children and also added that he could manage to provide for the family without considering her personal ambitions.
In close relationships, women are known to sacrifice by altering their lifestyle from that of single person to one that prioritises their partners.
Some married women have noted how challenging it is to live an ordinary lifestyle but, instead, have to live lives that are defined by their partners.
“Some men can be unfair. Imagine setting rules and standards for a partner while hiding in the shadow of being the head or the main provider. It is not about competition but, in a relationship, both partners must sacrifice for each other at some point if we are to see healthy relationships free of violence and abuse.
“There is a need to build healthy relationships that will encourage women to communicate their feelings, opinions and desires instead of shelving them as we continue to witness high divorce rates,” another woman explained
And some men spoken to were quick to say that men, too, go hungry to make sure there is food on the table, enough resources to pay bills, other needs and work themselves until they are worn out to provide the best for their families.
“We also sacrifice so much. Some women have challenges when it comes to sacrificing their shopping needs without considering the effort a man makes.
“It is not about sacrificing small things like watching a television soap opera to a European league game which you can negotiate for. It is about the cardinal sacrifices we make in our relations that need to be appreciated,” he said.
He added: “Imagine where you expect your partner to bend a little so that you invest for the future only to see shopping parcels filled with hair and beauty products.”
He reasoned that while looking beautiful was good but, there were times that called for a partner to make some adjustments in their lifestyle, a kind of sacrifice that one would expect from a partner.
Similarly, relationship experts observe that where one person sacrifices everything and the other nothing, and have a relationship that lasts, partners are usually not happy.
As partners interact, there is a need to understand that always sacrificing for your partner and not expressing your opinions to keep the other person happy can be challenging for your mental well-being.
There is a need to be wary of partners who cannot accommodate time and energy to find common ground.
Sacrifice is noble but partners must reach a compromise.
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