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You know you're willing to make sacrifices for your spouse when...
Think you can just sacrifice for your spouse because you want to? It turns out you need a little control over your mind. - photo by Herb Scribner
Would you do anything for your spouse? If so, you probably have some good self-control.

A 2014 study from researchers in the Netherlands found that people who resist temptation, multitask and remember new information are more likely to make sacrifices for their partner.

Executive control of the mind also allows people to see how the sacrifice would help their partner, which makes them more interested in making that sacrifice, according to Science of Relationships, which outlined the studys findings.

Sacrifices could include something as simple as choosing to help your partner with the dishes rather than watch Netflix, or as harrowing as taking a bullet for your loved one.

While sometimes it seems like we can effortlessly and automatically meet our partners needs, there are other times when we have to exert some extra mental effort to get past our own self-serving desires, Science of Relationships reported. So, even if it might take a little extra work to abandon your Netflix cue, the effort you put into helping your partner could pay off big time for you both."

To come to this conclusion, researchers conducted two separate studies that measured why people make sacrifices for their partners. The first had participants fill out a survey about their relationship and then participate in a test in which they separated words by color and the emotions they represent. This showed how well participants sorted through information and multitasked.

Then the study's participants were told to find the differences between the two images (the images were identical). Those who spent longer looking at the photos to find the differences (there were none) and didn't quit early demonstrated a higher level of sacrifice.

The second study had couples perform tasks one partner had a frustrating task and the other got to watch fun videos. Those completing the frustrating task could stop at any point, but by doing so, their partner wouldnt get to watch the videos anymore. Those who continued to do the frustrating task longer showed a higher level of sacrifice for their partner.

Both studies found those who had better control over the mind and were better at multitasking made sacrifices for the other more often. The studies concluded that there is a correlation between having better executive control and making a sacrifice in your relationship.

Sacrifice has long been called an important part of any relationship, since it shows spouses are committed to helping each other achieve their goals.

But this doesnt mean you should sacrifice all of your time to your spouse. Using recent research from University of California Berkeley researchers, Ph.D. student Annie M. Gordon wrote that even though sacrifice is an important part of a relationship, its important to find the right balance between making sacrifices and being sacrificed for.

In short, research suggests that sacrificing for someone you love may show them you care and may even make you feel good about yourself, Gordon wrote. But studies also reveal that if you find yourself always being the one who sacrifices or if you feel forced to make a sacrifice then you should tread with caution.

Gordon suggests that couples who often sacrifice for their spouse and dont see much in return should ask themselves some fundamental questions, like whether their spouse would ever do the same for them and how committed their spouse is to the relationship.

Partners should also seek to discover what their motivation is for helping their spouse, whether its to self-serve or create a better life for their loved one, Gordon wrote.

Relationships require sacrifice, but we shouldnt give up or give in without thinking it through, Gordon wrote. It is important to consider the pros and cons, have clear communication with your partner, ask the tough questions and make sure you are sacrificing for the right reasons. The right kind of sacrifice can bring people together, but sacrificing for the wrong reasons may be worse than no sacrifice at all.
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