Difference Between Compromise And Sacrifice In A Relationship

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Counselling Psychologist - M.Sc. Clinical Psychology

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Reviewed By:

Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

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‘Sacrifice’ sounds like a rather scary word to anyone in a relationship. You might even find yourself making a lot of sacrifices and feeling a little exhausted. While both. sacrifice and compromise are important for a successful relationship, what is even more important is regulating both of them 

Defining A Compromise And Sacrifice 

To understand these two words in simpler terms, compromise is a team job, and sacrifice is a solo job. And while both of them are important, they should be done to restore balance in a relationship for its smooth functioning,  not enhance the problem in the first place. A compromise requires both parties involved to make an effort to solve the issue. It requires an understanding of the problem and a willingness to solve it. If either of these is missing from any one of the people involved, the compromise may turn into a sacrifice by one of them. 

A compromise would look something like this:

  • If you and your partner live far away and you want to meet, figuring out a middle point would be considered a compromise. Changing a few immediate plans to meet them would be a compromise 

Whereas, a sacrifice would be: 

  • Asking each other to come to your house would require one of them to make a sacrifice. While compromise does sound like a healthier option, sacrifice isn t always bad. Compromises are definitely important for a new relationship to build a healthy foundation. But sacrifice may be necessary for long-term relationships.

In the above example, if your partner is sick, you wouldn t mind going to their place to meet them or keeping track of this visit and keeping it over their head as a reminder of the time ‘you made a sacrifice’. In long-term relationships, sacrifice becomes an essential concept, and it becomes healthy when it is done wisely. You may not only travel those extra kilometers when your partner is sick, but you may also do that on days when you simply want to and it would make sense for your partner to do the same for you

Role Of Compromise And Sacrifice In A Relationship

Both compromises and sacrifices play an essential role in building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Compromises between partners are generally used to solve conflicts and figure out a solution that is acceptable to both. Whereas sacrifices are often made by the involved individuals to strengthen the bond that they share and show that they are willing to let go of something important and significant for their partner. This increases the fondness and closeness between the partners  

How To Find Balance In A Relationship? 

A balance can be found by keeping specific, important points in mind 

  1. Positive regard for each other- having a positive regard for each other means that you have a positive outlook towards your partner and their actions, showing support and acceptance 
  2. Unconditional positive regard for each other- unconditional positive regard, simply put, means that you have positive regard for your significant other no matter what they say, this means there is complete acceptance of the person and their actions  
  3. Mutual love- the feeling of love should be mutual between the individuals involved, one-sided affection is a sign of an imbalanced relationship 
  4. Mutual respect- feelings of affection and everything else should be accompanied by utmost respect for your partner, their concerns, and opinions  
  5. Sense of empathy- empathy refers to being in someone else’s shoes, seeing things from their point of view, only then you will be able to understand their thoughts and concerns 
  6. A problem-solving attitude- a problem-solving attitude would allow both individuals to deal with conflicts effectively and reach a solution faster 
  7. Goal-focused orientation- having a goal-focused orientation would allow both of you to stay on track and not get lost in your journey and task  

To answer the question, in the beginning, the feeling that you are the only one putting in effort and feeling exhausted, this, unfortunately, can happen when one of you keeps making sacrifices and doesn t receive anything back. This may initially lead to exhaustion, but this feeling can quickly turn into resentment for your partner. Maintaining a balance between what you give and what you get not only allows for a healthy relationship but also allows one to maintain a sense of self and self-respect. People tend to lose themselves when they get into a relationship and go out of their way to solve problems to save the relationship. Wanting to solve a certain problem in itself is not the culprit; safety and this energy not being mutual between the partners are. 

Furthermore, figuring out a healthy balance builds trust, a sense of safety, and reliance, which helps to calm the mind. It does so by making one prioritize their needs along with their partner’s needs (compromise) as opposed to prioritizing their partner s needs over their own (sacrifice). Betraying one s own self to please others, consistently, is never healthy, nor should it be glorified.

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

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Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

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Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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