Sacrifice and love. Whether it’s on the big screen, in a children’s book or on center stage, risking it all for the love has become a well-known theme in our society.
We’ve watched as couples estrange themselves from family members, quit jobs, move cities, dump wives and husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends and forget friends. We’ve rooted for their romantic successes from our sofas and stadium seats, did silent cheers at pivotal movie moments and held our collective breath as actors and actresses delivered lines like Bridges of Madison County’s, “This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime.”
With all the storylines surrounding love and risk, our culture has turned the size of the sacrifice into a measuring tool for love. From one perspective, it’s valid. I would never quit my job and move cities for someone with whom I just had a casual relationship. Love would have to be part of the equation. Love is necessary for sacrifice.
But is sacrifice necessary for love?
I’m not talking about the everyday sacrifices we all make when in relationships, like taking out the trash or going to each others work functions or holding our breath in the bathroom. I’m talking about big, life changing sacrifices where we risk everything we’ve worked toward.
A dear friend of mine recently turned down a high paying job, plans to sell her house, move, relocate her business and quit her current position to head to a city all for the promise of true love. Romantic, right.
But when the enormous sacrifice doesn’t NEED to occur, when Sally falls for her neighbor Bobby, and everything is simple and wonderful from the start, do we look at their love as impossible? They didn’t have to risk for their love, and because of our measuring stick based on sacrifice, we think it’s a love borne from convenience and friendship rather than the passion-filled romances of the story books.
I thought the same thing — until it happened to me. When I met Steffen, there was no drama, no hand wringing, no waiting for calls, no cheating, no what ifs. One day he wasn’t a part of my life, and the next he was and will be forever. Simple. Easy. Without sacrifice.
I’ve had to learn that there is romance in that too, that love doesn’t always have some dramatic finale. Love just is, and I’ve chosen to let it be.