First off, before you all freak out, I want to say this guy isn't totally off his rocker. There is truth in his words but I don't feel like it's the whole picture. Selflessness is an important part of marriage but I don't think it is the ONLY thing about marriage. I also understand it is different for every person.
But I just don't buy the whole being selfless thing. If BOTH people in a marriage give up or try to please the other person, HOW DO YOU GET ANYTHING DONE???
For example: And I have read this article four or five times to make sure I am reading it correctly but for D and I we are both looking for jobs this spring. So say I am this "selfless" type and I say: Even though I have been in school for 7 years and have a masters degree I want you to be happy and I want you to find a job and I will follow you regardless. And then D says, essentially the same thing. Then what? We both can't make a freaking decisions and then tip toe around the fact that we should be thinking about the other person and no one makes a move and.....you see where this is going. Or I decide that I want D to go find a job and be selfless and then later on I resent him because I had to give in and do what he wanted, giving up what I wanted?
I don't know....maybe I am reading this wrong. What I think is important in a marriage is a combination of selflessness, honesty, and communication. There is a time and place for one person to give to the other so the other can follow their hopes and dreams. Or it's a compromise where both can be happy. Tricky, yes, but it can be done.
I should also point out that D and I don't believe in traditional gender roles. You wont ever catch me being a housewife or stay at home mom, cooking and raising the kids or whatever and again, nothing wrong with that AT ALL, stay at home moms do so much, it's just not how D and I work. It's not my scene.
D is much better at cooking than me, I pay the bills and we usually rock paper scissors over the laundry. Some days I am swamped with homework and he tells me not to worry about cleaning the house and some days D is stressed with studying and work that I usually will pop into work and give him a peach tea because they are his favorite and hope it brightens his day.
It's a balance. With many conversations we have had about our future I have been completely honest with D and sometimes with that honesty comes things that aren't as pleasant to hear. But I would rather be honest now than resent him later or vice versa. It's hard to honest, it's hard to know that you both are bound and determined to find great jobs and you know how hard it will be for both of you to be completely happy. But when I am being selfless and D knows how I really feel, it tends to mean more, have more weight behind my words.
I understand being giving to my partner. D is great at it, it is very much in his nature to be a giver, more so than myself. He makes me a better person when he takes interest in the things I do and supports me. I support him of course but there is a difference between supporting your partner and giving up things for them, giving up who are you for the other person. Giving up what made you fall in love with that person in the first place. Again, a time and place and it switched off as time goes on.
So yes, I am going to say it, There is a time when it's ok to be focused on you and what you want to do just as long as you know that your partner is supporting you and there will be a time and place for you to give back. Maybe that is what this guy was saying the whole time and we actually agree on it. I don't know. But I thought I would shed some light on how I see things.
In all reality, marriage is hard! True love is not killing your husband when you go to bed and he comes out of the office to only turn on ALL the lights and not turn them off again. Or when you are constantly saying, "D, your shoes don't go here." or "D, you keys don't go here." or "D, where in the HELL are my keys. We have a key hook for a REASON."
Or when you are driving and you say to your partner, "Take a left here." and he gets in the left lane for you to only say, "Oh shit I really meant take a right!" and then he cuts off traffic to get in the right lane, shooting you a dirty glare.
True love is when your partner says,
D: What are you reading?
Me: A book called Deity
D: Oh, are you reading a book about Greek Gods?
Me: With hearts in my eyes Yes. Yes I am.
True love is this conversation:
D: I need a basket for my rocks.
Me: Can't you just put the rocks...you know....outside?
D: WHAT! Rocks don't go outside. I can't put my rocks outside!
Me: Oh. Of course not.
Me: actually understand the importance of keeping his rocks inside our tiny apartment.
True Love is when your husband, when you first started dating liked rap and punk music, now loves Josh Ritter as much as you and anytime "Kathleen" comes on in the car you both know all the words and sing it at the top of our lungs. With the windows open.
True Love is when you try to cook dinner for your partner but he politely tells you it's kind of bland and then adds a dash of this and a dash of that and suddenly it doesn't suck anymore. And you don't get offended.
Again, maybe I am just proving this guys point over and over again.