Susan and I believe there is a misconception among couples about the term “compromise.” They think it means they have to meet in the middle every time and that each will give up a lot of things to make that happen. As a result, they can’t help but look at compromise as a bad word. How they get there just … feels … yucky — and everyone loses.
Honestly, folks, compromise shouldn’t be that way!
You have needs. I have needs. We have needs
together! So, let’s compromise!
A compromise (or compromising) should be a win-win for both the husband and wife. It’s where both of you feel good about what you’ve decided to do or how you’ve decided to handle something.
Sometimes … yes … that means meeting in the middle.
But compromise can also mean getting more of your way!
It also means that your spouse gets more of his or her way!
How you view compromise strictly depends on how you view your relationship. If you and your spouse take your partnership more into consideration and are willing to give up individual gain for the gain of the relationship, finding a way to compromise won’t be such a bad thing after all.
If you’ve decided to be together, it’s possible to compromise in different ways!
There are three types of compromise that every couple should be aware of:
Mathematical compromise — This comes into play when dealing with issues that involve something quantifiable. In other words, how much or how often something happens. This is also typically where people meet in the middle.
Susan wants to spend $100 of our monthly $300 spending allowance and put the remaining $200 into savings. But I want to spend $250 and put the remaining $50 into savings. A good compromise would be $150 for spending and $150 for savings. Essentially, we’d be meeting in the middle, and both of us should walk away happy.
Relational compromise — This is what we discussed earlier. Each of us gives up individual gain for the gain of the relationship. Happiness comes from combining our individual happiness to ensure the relationship is happy.
Let’s say Susan loves Chinese food, but I hate it. I love Italian, and she hates that. But we both like Mexican food. In this scenario, a compromise would be going to eat Mexican for dinner since we both enjoy it. It may not be exactly what Susan or I want, but neither one of us feel “put out” by choosing Mexican. And if we still want our fix of Chinese or Italian every so often, we can enjoy those meals with our friends instead of with each other. In other words, when you are together you do things you both enjoy if you can. You don’t force your partner to do something you know they hate when you can help it.
Trade-offs — This is when you take turns or make an exchange. Essentially, you both get your way (but not necessarily at the same time, or in the same circumstance or event).
“Would you take the kids to school every day this week if I do the same thing next week?”
“I’ll go to your family reunion this year if you will go to my parents for vacation.”
“You watch your football game now, and I’ll record my show and watch it later.”
“I’ll take Christian to get his haircut if you take Jackson to Taekwondo practice.”
Do you see how each of those works? Any form of compromise allows two people — each with different interests, values, and desires — to live their lives together as a couple more harmoniously.
All we are saying here is that while compromising isn’t a perfect solution in every instance, it isn’t about giving up as much as it is, “I want to make our relationship great. And because I want to make it great, it means I want to please you, which means I’m not perfectly pleased all the time.” And that should be okay because you love that person and want to make them happy.
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Did we leave anything out? How do you and your spouse compromise? How has learning to compromise improved your communication and marriage? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com