Immature spouses have the unrealistic expectation that once married, they should share everything from friends to opinions. Shared values are great, but assuming that we haven't married our clones, there are bound to be differences. Experienced couples know that compromise is essential to a happy marriage, and sometimes, that compromise doesn't come easily.
The definition of the word "compromise" is "a settlement of differences by mutual concessions." We give and take, and even though it is a "mutual agreement," we may not always like it. However, if we focus on the higher goal which is marital accord,
1. The decision must be mutually satisfactory. In other words, no one should be unhappy with the agreement. "Compromising" when you don't really want to leads to resentment later. While no one really likes to sacrifice, but good reasons to concede make it less painful.
2. Concessions do not need to be equal, but equally satisfactory. If he gives up his night out with the guys to attend your cousin’s wedding, for example, you don't have to give up your night with the girls as long as you give up something he accepts as a substitute.
3. Decide where to draw a line in the sand. There are few absolutes in life, but some people have lines they will not cross. Be clear about them. But be careful about ultimatums. You don't want to threaten anything you can't back up.
An example of compromise
“I don’t want to go to your cousin’s wedding.”
“Are you serious? It’s important to me that we attend these kind of functions together.”
“She and her husband don’t like me, and it’s on the same day that I planned on going on that weekend hike with my buddies. I look forward to this all year.”
“Can’t you go just for me? She only gets married once—hopefully—and you go out with the guys several times a year.”
“But won’t you be meeting all of your sisters there anyway?”
“Isn’t our marriage more important than your boys' time?”
Aha. Too many spouses draw this unfair association. Not agreeing with your spouse does not mean that one isn’t putting the marriage first. It isn’t about the marriage. It is about how each person wants to spend this particular day.
The compromise? Here are some options.
1. Choose to attend the wedding with other family members. Go on the much-anticipated nature weekend. Separately. Both spouses are adults. Explain to your cousin that your mate had a prior engagement. Enjoy your time with your sisters.
2. Attend the wedding together but agree that he can skip any other family event of his choosing in the future. If you insist that the two of you attend every life function together, you need to get over that. It’s both selfish and immature.
3. Attend the wedding together but in the future you agree to attend an event that he would like, one that you typically would not attend. Go willingly and participate.
4. Skip the wedding and the weekend outing, and do something else together.
5. Skip the wedding while he goes on the weekend. Do something by yourself if you can’t manage attending a wedding without him.
6. Go to the wedding but bring a friend instead of him.
Compromise doesn’t have to be painful. It may require patience, tolerance, and sometimes self-sacrifice but it leads to personal growth as well as relationship fulfillment.