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ChristinaM

Sacrifice

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: England
Timeline
One of the many complaints you'll hear from the long-married, and more often from long-time wives than from long-time husbands, is that marriage is about hard work, compromise, and sacrifice.

Hard work, perhaps; sometimes it may take real effort to get through a traumatic event or difficult times. Compromise, to some degree; each partner in a marriage has a limit to what they will compromise on, as it should be whenever two unique individuals come together to share their lives, but many people do compromise on some things to keep marital harmony.

But sacrifice? Genuine sacrifice? Never.

At least not if you understand what sacrifice really means.

Sacrifice means giving up something you value in exchange for something you don't value, or for no reason at all. It means identifying something you love only to destroy or abandon it for the sake of something that has no meaning for you. It means buying into the philosophy of altruism, which enforces the idea that you ought not to live for yourself, but for the sake of others. Altruism says that if you have something, you must give it away because you're a lousy ####### if you don't. If you have the desire to work for your own prosperity and enjoy the fruits of your own labour, you are selfish and must hand over what you have to those who would take it from you, gleefully. There is no greater virtue in our present society than sacrifice, the selfless act, the abdication of your own interests in favour of the interests of some nameless mass of other people, the "random act of kindness" which is not about generosity and goodwill but about bludgeoning you into giving, giving, giving, in the name of morality.

Sacrifice is so essential to the foundation of altruism that it is inaccurately defined and falsely held up as a virtuous thing; if enough people get used to equating it with nobility and generosity and to applying it to every situation in which choices have to be made and lived with, then it takes on a highly moral patina and makes people feel good when they do it. It is astonishing that the word "sacrifice" has taken on such a tragic and melancholy air of goodness considering that when most of us think of the word we imagine sacrifices of the human variety, senseless killings to appease volcano gods and the like, utterly pointless examples of a waste of human life and achievement. How many of us still believe that the people jumping into that lava were somehow better and more moral human beings? Do we not feel animosity towards the high priests that held a spear to their backs and made them do it? Sacrifice never has and never will be a noble thing.

That which we so often call "sacrifice" should more accurately be described as value identification. When someone chooses their highest value - their own life, their children, their country, or whatever it is they value most in the world - and defends or protects that thing even to the detriment of other things they value, there is no sacrifice involved.

A secret service man, for instance, whose job it is to jump in front of bullets aimed at the president, has determined for himself that his highest value is the protection of the leader of his country. His own life is not as valuable to him as the security and protection of the president, and so therefore when he takes the bullet meant for another man, he is not "sacrificing" himself, no matter how difficult it may be for someone else to relate to that kind of willingness to die for another. He has merely identified his highest value, and abandoned all others in favor of it when the choice must be made.

The same is true for the countless brave men and women who gave their lives in battle. Their deaths, their injuries and scars, helped preserve their homeland's freedom. As noble as they were, as indebited as we are to their courage and as much as they deserve far more respect than they currently receive, their lives were not "sacrificed"; they were given, willingly, to preserve and protect the freedom of their country and the lives of the people they loved.

Every day, in every walk of life, people constantly face choices when it comes to which of their values to protect or encourage. A woman who sits up all night with a sick child and loses valuable sleep for work the next day does not "sacrifice" a night's rest; she values her child's health far more than her own comfort and gladly foregoes rest in order to protect it. A businessman who chooses to give generously to charity and donate his time to help find a cure for his wife's cancer is not sacrificing his money or time: he is buying the hope of long life for his wife. Simply choosing to protect that which we value most does not mean we are sacrificing anything.

It would only be a true sacrifice if the secret service man did not value the presidency more than his own life. It would be a sacrifice if the soldier had no love for his country and was forced into battle against his will (which, unfortunately, has been a constant motif throughout the history of countries with mandatory military service). It would be a sacrifice if the woman was forced to care for a child that was not hers and one she did not love. And it would be a sacrifice for a businessman to give away money and time to a cause simply because it is a cause, regardless of its importance to him.

So what does this have to do with marriage? Everything.

Marriage is not about sacrifice. Neither is child-rearing. If you work hard at a job in order to help pay the bills when you would rather stay home and watch soap operas, you are not sacrificing anything unless you truly value leisure time over a successful life. If you always harbored a desire to dance on broadway but decided to become a mother instead, you only sacrificed your career if you value being a dancer over being a mother. No amount of laundry, no amount of dishes, no amount of working overtime or putting a husband through medical school is ever a sacrifice of anything if you do it all to preserve or protect a marriage and family you value more than anything else.

It doesn't mean these choices aren't hard. Sometimes they are heartbreaking. Often career opportunities mean facing tough choices; do you move because of your spouse's career or do you stay in the hometown you love? Whichever you decide, as hard as it was to do, as often as you might regret your decision in later years, you chose your greater value, and sacrificed nothing. Understanding this difference is crucial if you want to avoid the maudlin, self-pitying, martyr-like mindset that can develop and ultimately poison your marriage.

If you allow this kind of erroneous thinking into your marriage, pretty soon you'll start to think that every time you do something difficult or unpleasant in support of your spouse, your home or your marriage in general that you deserve a merit badge for having given so much of yourself for so little in return. This kind of attitude will build up in your mind, like a bank account accruing interest, until one day you decide it's time for payback, time for "your turn", time to cash in on all the sacrifices you made. What you won't realize, until it's too late, is that your spouse never asked for your sacrifice (if they're a good mate), your children don't owe you a thing since you made the decision to have them, not the other way around, and that as soon as you start bleating about what is "owed" to you for all your years of self-imposed "sacrifice", you will alienate anyone who loves you and cast yourself as a bitter, unfulfilled person who never thought to take care of themselves. You will not be put on the pedestal of virtue that you aspired to. There is no surer way to sour a relationship than to allow yourself to wallow in this kind of misguided self-pity.

Never intentionally sacrifice yourself or your values. That way, if you realize that you are sacrificing something - your own happiness for the sake of a loveless marriage - then you know what to do. But if you realize that you are merely working hard for a marriage that you value more than anything else in the world, the thought of pitching yourself into that volcano won't even enter your mind.

http://www.andtheylivedhappilyeverafter.com/

There are some very thought-provoking articles there, even if you don't necessarily agree with them.


Make sure you're wearing clean knickers. You never know when you'll be run over by a bus.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Canada
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Yep it 's all about making choices.....


7-3-06 GREEN CARD ARRIVES IN MAIL!!!! Done for two years!!!!!!

I am here to help, even if it's just to offer my shoulder to cry or vent on... We are all in this together.!

My answers are based on personal experience, not fact.

We are on this rollercoaster ride together holding on for dear life.

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Interesting read, but I completely disagree with the author's definition of sacrifice......if it's really giving up something of value for something completely worthless...why would anyone do it?

I have made sacrifices for the 'greater good' which is the only reason why I'd give up something special to me. If there's no benefit, I wouldn't do it.

When I was previously married & when we were in financial trouble, I sold things of great value to me. For the benefit of our financial stability, and so we didn't have to go to our parents. It wasn't for nothing.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: England
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I think the point was that if you're giving something up for something you believe in, it's not "sacrifice" but a donation to the cause, if you will.

I thought it was an interesting point of view, a little different and it made me sit back and think for a couple of minutes so I decided to post it :)


Make sure you're wearing clean knickers. You never know when you'll be run over by a bus.

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I think the point was that if you're giving something up for something you believe in, it's not "sacrifice" but a donation to the cause, if you will.

I thought it was an interesting point of view, a little different and it made me sit back and think for a couple of minutes so I decided to post it :)

Thanks for that, btw. It was an interesting read.

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