Marriage: Compromise (Fundamentals Series)

I think we have all heard the saying that goes a little something like this… I have found the one who completes me.  I like to use the analogy of puzzle pieces when thinking of  relationships.  Somewhere out there in the world is your matching piece, the one whose piece fits almost perfectly with your own.  I say almost perfectly, because unlike puzzle pieces, people are never a perfectly cut piece.  When two people come together as one in a relationship, those puzzle pieces that are almost a perfect fit come together leaving just a few gaps.  People come into relationships with their own morals, ideas and goals which have developed throughout their lives and it is safe to say that some of those will be different than their partners, hence the gaps.  Now let’s think of compromise as the filler between the gaps in those pieces.  The glue if you will, that helps bind those pieces together.

With all that being said, if compromise is the binder of each of the puzzle pieces, what is a relationship without the binder that is compromise?  It is important to understand that, no matter how perfect your match, you will never see 100% eye to eye on every issue with any one person, as no two people and their personal experiences that shaped them are the same. That is okay.  Remember all of that can be solved with a little compromise.  You have to be willing to budge on some issues when it is in the best interest of your relationship and not detrimental to your own well being.  I think Psychology Today said it best, Compromise is something that combines qualities or elements of different things. It does not mean giving up or giving in. It is a blending of hearts and minds, and that is what makes a marriage.

Side note: It is my own opinion that before seriously committing yourself to another you should have had frank discussions where you determine that your morals, ideas and goals are similar and this way your puzzle pieces do not have to work so hard to fit.  Think, the less filler the better.

Now, let’s be clear compromise will not work if one person is giving in all the time and the other is not.  This type of compromise can lead to resentment.  Keep in mind that  compromise is a two way street, it has to be something that is given equally by both partners for it to work in a positive way.

Let’s finish up with an example.  My Husband is going out of town for a work trip.  He has to be at the airport at 5 a.m. which is well before the time I would normally wake up for work.  He likes to spend time with me before he goes out of town.  He could take an Uber which would allow me to sleep an hour longer but we won’t get to spend the time together we would if I drove him to the airport myself.  I will compromise and take him to the airport because it is important to him (to be honest I like to see him before he leaves too but I do like my sleep!) and I am not doing anything detrimental to my own well being.  This is a symbol of my love and devotion to him.  He is important to me, so I will do this for him.

With these things in mind, how can you effectively compromise?  Here are some tips:

  • Communicate well and often.
  • Don’t try and compromise during heated moments, instead table the conversation and cool down.  Once both partners are less excited, come back and speak about it.
  • Trust each other.  If you trust your partner and that they have your best interest, and the interest of the relationship in mind, you will know that the other’s request for compromise is coming from a good place.
  • Respect each other.  Think about the big picture, is what your requesting respectful of your relationship, the other person and vice versa.
  • Budge when the issue is in the best interest of your relationship and not detrimental to your own well being.

What is your opinion on compromise?  What works particularly well for your relationship?  Please share!

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