Sometimes when people sacrifice their dreams for the sake of their partners, they are not really being stupid as some may think them to be. They just found out some things are more important than others, and some worth letting go temporarily or even permanently. There’s no guarantee though, that in the end, they will look back and say their sacrifice was worth it or that they were foolish not to have pursued their dreams.
“Whatever the end will be, it’s not promised…it’s just a chance we all take, hoping for the best, hoping our sacrifices are not taken for granted or end up being in vain”
However, I think when you find someone to share your life with, you realize much more happiness compared to whatever career accomplishment brings when you have no special someone (or family) to share it with. It sure gets lonely at the top having achieved everything, at the expense of love or family.
There are some things that career women especially do not understand. Of course they don’t want anybody to belittle them when they choose career over love or family because gone are the days when a graduate degree was enough to plunge a woman into an early successful career. Today, post-graduate degrees are even no longer a woman’s minimum and though she would settle and start a family, the family aspect must be on hold until she reaches the very peak of her career. Yes, to her, marriage/family must not break the chain because these (career/professional qualifications and aspirations) are no longer things to do after marriage but must come first. Everything else can wait.
That’s good. Yet again, many women (including men) walked this path and in the end became quite desperate and sometimes loneliest of beings. Yes everybody must reach their peak in their career if they can and so desire it, but sometimes I do wish we don’t always choose career over love or family. When you have the opportunity, pursue both if you can; but always strike a balance. Why? Maybe it’s just because I’ve realized many times career never really truly satisfies and leaves us wanting more and more success? Maybe because with career there will always be the next big thing? Plus, it always makes us push love and family every time down the priority list?
In explaining why maintaining a good balance is very important, someone said:
“You might get the perfect job, but if you lose your spouse, that job may not look so perfect in the long run”
The benefits of career accomplishment may never make up for the emotional wreckage. Plus, God always remembers to reward that which was done for others or for the good of all; and not that which must benefit us only.
Many established successful people have indicated that even though it’s always a constant battle between career and family, they will always choose or value family more.
“Why marriage or family will be more important to people than career I believe is because it provides a kind of intimacy, fulfillment and personal attachment that nothing else is able to offer”
William James was quoted in Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” as saying “Many men who wouldn’t dream of speaking sharply to a customer, or even to their partners in business, think nothing of barking at their wives. Yet, for their personal happiness, marriage is far more important to them, far more vital, than business“. In the same book, Turgenev, the great Russian novelist, who was acclaimed all over the civilized world was quoted as once saying: “I would give up all my genius, and all my books, if there were only some woman, somewhere, who cared whether or not I came home late for dinner”
I’m also reminded of a recent discussion with a friend about opportunities and interests. He made a point we both agreed on that, just as some opportunities come but once, so do our interests and desires in and for certain things quickly change with time. As such, one moment you may have a strong interest in something and then the next moment that desire just dies down and is replaced with something else.
He tried to substantiate the point with a story of a guy and a lady who have been dating for quiet some years. Along the line the guy was interested in settling down and starting a family but anytime he brings up the topic of marriage, the lady will say she is not ready because of a tall list of career accomplishments she has to pursue first; as such marriage will stand in her way. Over time, the guy stopped raising the issue of marriage and found something to invest his time and the monies he was apparently saving for marriage in and that now occupied his interest. After some years, the lady (though not having achieved all her list of career dreams or accomplishments) now brings up the topic of marriage and her readiness of starting a family; an interest that has eventually fallen low on the guy’s priority list. And as it is, they are still dating but the interest in marriage and starting a family is now being built slowly. Sad? Maybe.
In today’s world, not every woman lets go of her dreams easily to share in the dreams of a man and build a life together. So let all men respect the women who make sacrifices every day just to stay in their lives.
That’s not to say only women make sacrifices for men; both men and women make career sacrifices in the interest of the other. Marriage is often about sacrifices and compromise, as such, most marriages are presented with such situations. What is important I believe is that couples must try not to let dreams that was very dear to their spouses but had to be sacrificed at some point die completely. Later in life when conditions become favourable to enable the resurrection and pursuit of such dreams, couples must encourage and support each other to achieve those dreams. Dreams postponed only die completely when one’s partner isn’t supportive or when we give up all hopes of making our dreams come through ourselves.
Every partner must thus consciously note every dream that his/her spouse had to sacrifice in the course of their lives together and later (when conditions will allow it) keep reminding and encouraging them to pursue it.
Regardless however, I believe whatever trade-offs we make, we must be ready to accept and live with our choices as we hope for the best out of our marriages.
God help us!
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017
Marriage & Personal Development Author