More generally, to me, doing things for each other
is not an essential part of a romantic relationship or friendship. Ideally, it's based simply on love or fondness for who the other person is, not what the other person does for me (and vice versa
). I've done several posts at another forum discussing the core drive INFJs (especially) seem to have to make "noble sacrifices" or otherwise engage in significant acts of service for the people they care most about. And in that context, and as an example of more of an opposite
orientation toward love, I've quoted C.S. Lewis. In The Four Loves
, he noted that, "to the Ancients, Friendship [— by which he meant the kind of kindred-spirit best-friendship that a person has with, at most, a select few —] seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves," and Lewis concurred with that assessment, and went on to note that the idea of one person doing something for the benefit of another played no essential part in — and was in fact somewhat "alien" to — this highest form of human love.
A Friend will, to be sure, prove himself to be also an ally when alliance becomes necessary; will lend or give when we are in need, nurse us in sickness, stand up for us among our enemies, do what he can for our widows and orphans. But such good offices are not the stuff of Friendship. The occasions for them are almost interruptions. They are in one way relevant to it, in another not. Relevant, because you would be a false friend if you would not do them when the need arose; irrelevant, because the role of benefactor always remains accidental, even a little alien, to that of Friend. It is almost embarrassing. For Friendship is utterly free from Affection's need to be needed. We are sorry that any gift or loan or night-watching should have been necessary — and now, for heaven's sake, let us forget all about it and go back to the things we really want to do or talk of together. Even gratitude is no enrichment to this love. The stereotyped "Don't mention it" here expresses what we really feel. The mark of perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all. It was a distraction, an anomaly. It was a horrible waste of the time, always too short, that we had together.
That strongly resonates with me. INFJs are often said to have somewhat of a martyr
streak, and to seek opportunities to play benefactor
, in contrast to Lewis's experience of the benefactor role as "almost embarrassing," and an anomalous irrelevancy in the context of "the happiest and most fully human of all loves."