Have you ever been put in a place where you had to choose between what you wanted and protecting someone else? It's never ever easy to make a choice against what you feel is best for you versus what is best for someone else. Nevertheless, true love will cause you to accept the exception of what's best over what's wanted or even needed.
I plunder sometimes over the fact that even Christ had to make a choice that caused Him to have the worst end of the stick, because He knew that for Him to sacrifice Himself, was for us to gain. Again the need to protect.
When you truly love someone there is no limit to the selfless acts, that one does in order to protect them from any harm or danger. You widely consider your options as being null and void, and carefully understand that although the consequences to your actions might leave you longing, you find inner peace in your ability to protect.
Now in the end will you be appreciated for all that you've done? Will the ones you protected go through special measures to insure that your protection wasn't in vain? Maybe they will and maybe they want but the good thing is, they had the opportunity because of your need to protect.