June 5, 2004
I have heard many people say that we as humans only do things if there is something in it for us. They say that some kind of gain or self-satisfaction is the primary motivator behind all of our actions. That is one philosophy, and is kind of cynical, but it doesn’t totally hold up in the realm of love. Sometimes we are motivated by a genuine care about another person, even if it means self-sacrifice and foregoing our needs for theirs.
How many married women in the past have given up their lifelong dreams in order to help fulfill a partner’s dreams? How many Grandparents have raised their grandchildren while their own children become adults? How many spouses stood by their husband or wife while they wasted away in the hospital or even forgot who they were? How many parents have worked two jobs and sacrificed luxuries to put their children through college?
One of my good friends died a few years ago of cancer. He was only 50. He fought for almost 2 years with intense chemo treatments. They were hopeful, but it didn’t work. His wife sacrificed a lot during that time and gave up everything to try to save her husband.
There are many selfless acts we don’t see. People who give blood or donate platelets through aphaeresis are saving lives every day, but do not look for rewards. They keep coming back.
One of my friends gave up college to take care of her sick grandfather. She didn’t have a mother and her father was busy working, so she was the primary caregiver. After her grandfather passed away 5 years later, her college life was gone.
There are youth leaders working with the toughest kids. They are spending thousands of hours trying to make the lives of these kids better than what they might have been. When I was a youth worker, I have had many sleepless nights trying to prepare for some activity with boys that were not my own.
If I were doing it for myself, for some kind of gain, I would have quit, because there is often no reward and no pleasure involved in the things we do. But there is dedication and love and caring for the well-being of another.
I look around me and see so many unbalanced and unloving relationships. One of my classmates told me, “Boys are really mean,” just after her boyfriend cheated on her. My next door neighbors had been married for about 7 years and finally the wife had her husband arrested for beating her. She was bruised physically, but even worse she was battered emotionally. One of my friends is married and spends all of his free time looking for an escape. Not just any escape, but one far, far away from his wife and children. Another person I know has been married for one year and is already cheating on her husband. She says, “As long as he doesn’t know, it won’t hurt him.”
All relationships are not bad, because there are some really great ones. My wife and I have been married for 21 years and we are closer now than we ever were. My friend Sam and his wife adore each other. You can see it in their eyes and their actions. They are friends and a tribute to good relationships. Are they in it for themselves?
The difference between bad and good relationships, in my experience, is that relationships fall apart when we are self-centered and self-serving. If we come into relationships thinking, “What can I get out of this?” we are sure to be disappointed. And once we obtained what we were after, we would want to bail. There would be no longer anything of interest or value in the relationship to keep us there.
My marriage went through a lot of ups and downs and rocky paths, but we also came through the struggles together and one truth sticks out more than anything: When we are in a relationship for ourselves it falls apart, but when we are in it to benefit the other person, then it works much better and the relationship gets deeper and more meaningful. Looking out for each other’s best interests, giving to each other and loving each other ultimately does come back to us in the form of Happiness and Love. But if we are only seeking benefit, happiness and love will elude us.
In every relationship we only bring ourselves. That’s what we have to offer the other person. If we are there to take, then we are taking advantage of our partner who came to offer their own self. Eventually it will collapse and someone will be hurt.
Relationships by nature have to be trusting. We open up our deepest secrets to our partners. We give our partners a great gift in being trustworthy with their hearts. We give our partners a great gift when we actually listen to them and care about their needs and their fulfillment. We find that what is in their best interest really is also in ours. Our relationship is deeper and richer.
Posted by carl1236 at June 5, 2004 10:07 PM | Attitude