The Tension between Self-Fulfillment and Self-Sacrifice

Freed_The Tension BetweenSelf-Fulfillment & Self-SacrificeThere is so much pressure placed on us to feel fulfilled: in our job, our religious duties, our relationships, as parents, and more. We are taught to hold extremely high expectations for ourselves and our happiness.

There is nothing wrong with making our physical, spiritual or emotional health a priority. After all, if we feel weak, we cannot give ourselves fully to others. But sometimes, what is good for our personal health or growth does not benefit our relationship with our spouse.

So how do we obtain self-fulfillment when our relationship requires self-sacrifice?

Self-Improvement vs. Self-Indulgence

The answer lies in the idea of self-indulgence versus self-improvement.

When you are indulging yourself, you are acting in the interest of pleasure. The satisfaction we get from these kinds of actions are short-lived. When you are improving yourself, you are acting in the interest of growth. Through these actions of growth, we can fulfill ourselves and our relationships. These actions have long-lasting results and benefit the people around us, as well as each of us individually.

Ask yourself the following questions if you are faced with a situation that could be seen as self-improvement or self-indulgence:

  • Why do I want to make this choice?
  • Will getting my way fulfill my duties as a partner?
  • How will this decision benefit me in the long run? How long will this decision satisfy my needs?
  • Will I learn anything by committing these actions? Will I grow?

Self-Sacrifice as Relationship Fulfillment

Sacrifice sounds like a negative term, but it doesn’t have to be. Shift your view when you are facing sacrifices. By making your partner a top priority in your life, you are fulfilling the duties as a husband, wife, partner, and so on.

When you enter into a serious relationship or marriage, you commit yourself fully to a lifelong partnership. Through the bonds and promises of marriage, you and your spouse become one. This view allows self-fulfillment and self-sacrifice to become one and the same. When you sacrifice yourself, you can fulfill the needs of both your partner and your relationship. In this way, the benefits outweigh the losses.

Also, remember that this is not just the responsibility of one person in the partnership. If one partner is sacrificing more, or more dedicated to fulfilling the needs of your relationship, then your relationship may feel one-sided. Balance must be a major component of every partnership.

If you feel that your spouse is not making enough of an effort to make sacrifices necessary of fulfill the needs of your relationship, it may be time to get marriage help. Sit down and talk with a professional relationship coach.

Rooting for you!

Sara Freed

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