"I'd die for you," that's easy to sayWe have a list of people that we would takeA bullet for them, a bullet for youA bullet for everybody in this roomBut I don't seem to see many bullets coming throughSee many bullets coming throughMetaphorically, I'm the manBut literally, I don't know what I'd do"I'd live for you," and that's hard to doEven harder to say when you know it's not true
I used to say of my ex husband, "he would literally step in front of a train for me, but he won't clean the counters for me". Like him, every man I have had a serious relationship with has said, "I would die for you," or even, "I wish I could die for you," I guess because it seems the ultimate way to prove the deepness of one's love.
But the fact is that in none of my relationships have I wished that my partner, whom I loved, would encounter the chance to die for me. What I have wished for is that they would contribute to relieving the tasks of life. That they would help maintain a household, clean counters, consider my opinion about how our lives should be structured, how chores should be divided. I have never wished for my partners' chivalrous death but I have wished for help with laundry, making vet appointments and paying bills; to be actively listened to, soothed, treated with compassion. I have wished for a sharing of the burden of living.
A relationship isn't made good by a willingness to take bullets for each other - an opportunity that, as Tyler Joseph sings, comes rarely anyway, and as I say, would be only a single act anyway - but by a daily and persistent dedication to making small gestures of kindness or sacrifice for another person. My ex husband's willingness to die for me made little difference in my daily existence. It is living for others that is a gift. Displaying over and over again that one is invested in a mutual meeting of needs not only eases suffering, but also fosters an enduring sense of being loved.
This article discusses kindness as the vital factor in happy marriages.