In relationships, some degree of compromise will be required. However, when is the compromise too great? When is the sacrifice too much? From a counseling standpoint, we understand that the promise of love carries with it a level respect for the individual’s dreams as well as significant consideration for the couple’s goals. In a relationship, it’s very important to have the support of your partner. So, early in the relationship, we must be able to discuss our individual aspirations, and determine whether you can agree to support each other in achieving those goals. The problems occur when the support isn’t there, when the individual’s goals change, or when the individual’s aspirations begin to conflict with the functioning of the couple. At that point, we face the question—how much of a sacrifice will you make for the one you love?
When trying to determine whether to pursue your personal ambitions or sacrifice for the good of the relationship, you must consider the impact of your actions. We all have things we dream of doing in life such as traveling the world, furthering our education, starting a business, or changing careers, but when our dreams affect our loved ones, it’s important to determine the impact prior to taking steps to make them happen. Sometimes, pursuing a personal desire causes minimal disruption to the household. On the other hand, some changes can throw the family into a downward spiral made all the worse if your partner has no idea what that you’re making such a drastic change. So, determine the impact on your family when considering pursuing your dream. If the thing you want to do will have a significant effect on your mate, you may have to choose between your relationship and your dream.
Another thing to consider when weighing the decision to pursue an ambition is–how will feel if you don’t do go after your dream? We all understand how important our partner’s support is to our happiness and success in pursuing our dreams. But do we understand the personal devastation that can occur when we forgo a life-long dream for the sake of another person, not to mention the possibility of harm to the relationship? Of course, we can expect to be disappointed, but if your sacrifice causes you to resent your mate, the destruction to the relationship may be worse than if you’d gone ahead and pursued your dream.
This is serious, folks.
Too often, the souring of the relationship begins when one person, out of love, makes a sacrifice of something dear to their heart, only to find out later that the ache of the loss continued long after the dream had died. Then, although the person agreed to let their dream go, they then blame their partner for forcing them to make the sacrifice or for allowing them to make a huge sacrifice. For example, a young couple, totally in love, agrees to marry with the understanding that he never wants to have children. She goes along with it, believing that she doesn’t have a strong maternal instinct, and had never thought about having kids. Fast forward fifteen years. She’s approaching forty, all her friends have toddlers, and she decides that she wants to have a baby. He stands by their original declaration to never have children, and refuses her pleas. She, cannot fathom going through the rest of her life without a child, and starts to resent her husband’s selfishness. He resents her for making him feel like the “bad guy” for standing by their original agreement. Quickly, the relationship deteriorates as her resentment of his position of power over her ability to have a baby causes her to despise him. The relationship ends in bitter disappointment for both of them.
Sometimes, the sacrifices made for a loved one are too great, greater than the relationship itself, and can, indeed, cause the relationship to end. When making a vow to love each other, be certain to discuss goals, dreams, and your commitment to each other. If an impasse ever occurs in your relationship, and you are unable to come to a conclusion that honors both of you, seek spiritual guidance and pray for a positive outcome.
Sophia Avery, MA and Donavan Sterling West are a dynamic Relationship Counseling team! If you’d like further information, discussion or a Relationship Counseling session, please call us at visit our website at http://www.ChristianTalkTherapy.com AND become a fan of the Avery-West Counseling team! Visit our page on FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philadelphia-PA/Avery-West-Counseling-Team/273651777811