If I give up drinking, is it a sacrifice?

What about giving up driving sports cars at 100 MPH on the twisties up in the mountains?

Or would it be sacrifice to stop going golfing one Saturday morning while my wife takes care of three sick kids?

We consider something to be a sacrifice when we feel that we are giving up a thing that has value to us in exchange for something of lesser value. Just like we don't feel swindled by the guy at the car dealer when we sign this 5 or 6 year contract to pay for a brand new car, but if we find that the car isn't what we thought we were getting, then we might feel resentful over it later, usually once that newness wears off and the thing starts to need repairs.

When we give up something that is making us happy in some way we weigh its value against what we are getting in return. In the case of giving up some activity that I love "for the good of the marriage" it really only feels like a sacrifice if I don't get something more valuable in return.

Even Dr Harley talks about short term sacrifice for long term benefit being something that should be considered. But where we have the biggest problem is when we have lost that romantic love and aren't getting much of anything in return no matter what we are investing in the relationship and so anything we give feels like sacrifice since we aren't getting anything of value in return.

This folks is the State of Conflict that Dr Harley explains in his basic concepts. Our Takers are demanding to be fed and cared for and we frankly don't care what it costs our spouse as long as we get what we want.

Even for a renter mindset payment for value is something that can't really be seen as sacrifice at all. It only becomes sacrifice when we aren't getting any return on investment.

If doing what is right and good for the marriage feels like sacrifice then the problem isn't in the doing what is right but in the ROI, or more precisely, the lack of ROI.

The reason people have such a hard time with the concept of POJA is that we don't feel in love, don't want to give because we haven't gotten in return and can't imagine ever wanting to give any more because we have already given all we have for no ROI. The reality is simply that our Taker is in charge at that moment and is telling our Giver that we have already given enough and it is now time for our spouse to give for a change.

If one person can begin to use the process and even better if both begin to agree to using the process of POJA, at first it feels like sacrifice, but very quickly it stops feeling that way because we are getting ROI for anything we give up. The goal of POJA is not to make anything happen or to solve all problems or even to find a way to do anything at all. The GOAL of POJA is to keep us in love with each other. POJA stops us from sacrificing and also stops us from taking from each other by allowing our spouse to sacrifice for our benefit.

The MOST important part of marriage is being in love. If we fall out of love with each other nothing else in the marriage works, matters or has any significance in our lives. It was why we got married and will be why we stay married in the long run. It is the whole point of MB and is the goal of the entire program. When we feel in love and we are in a state of Intimacy, we don't even keep score as to who is giving and who is taking because it stops being about giving and taking and starts to be about giving and getting instead.

Our Taker stops expecting anything, even in return for what we are giving when we are already getting what we want and need. When our Love Banks are full what something costs us has very little meaning. It is only when we constantly withdraw love units that we bring our spouse's Taker out and then everything we do becomes an uphill battle.

Seldom is it a great big gigantic huge one shot love buster that does us in, BTW. What happens instead is that we get lazy and start repeating the same "little" things over and over again. The day to day habits we fall into do the damage and not the one shot argument with each other. It is my drooping socks on the floor every night instead of putting them in the hamper or her setting up something with her sister for my weekend off instead of asking me if I would like to do something. These are the things that make us fall out of love and make everything we do feel like sacrifice unless we can see a clear immediate benefit to our own Taker mentality.

Real sacrifice seldom even feels like sacrifice. It is not getting what we want or expect that feels like we are giving while getting nothing in return. We give up little things in an effort to avoid confrontation or we hide things from our spouse because we want to remain conflict free. Since our troubles and complaints go unanswered, mainly because they have gone unexpressed, we start to resent having to give up all this stuff for nothing coming back to us.

Time for work...