Want a great marriage? Don’t compromise.

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by Corey

Corey writes regularly about marriage and relationships on his site, Simple Marriage, which is full of laid back information sure to improve your relationships.You can also catch his radio show - Sexy Marriage Radio, a weekly show filled with straightforward and practical information that will help your marriage.

Here’s one of the biggest pieces of relationship advice presented in books and websites: To have a great marriage you must learn how to compromise.

So that we’re all on the same page, the dictionary defines compromise as: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

Sounds great … on paper. But when you get right down to it, in most every marriages, people don’t compromise, they cave.

If you’re working to create a great story in your life and marriage, then central to that goal is resisting the temptation to compromise on things that are most important. Things like your values and your identity.

Put another way—if you’re working towards creating a great life and marriage, should you lower your standards to accomplish it?

And put yet another way, a great life and marriage are the result of a person living from the best in themselves and by defending what’s true and right. This is never about compromise. So if you’re better off not compromising yourself to yourself, you certainly aren’t better off compromising with your spouse.

After all, isn’t your spouse the one person with whom you’re supposed to share what’s true and right? And how can doing what’s truly best for you personally also not be what’s truly best for your marriage?

In case you haven’t figured out, I don’t believe in compromise.


I define compromise as each party going away equally unhappy.

The reason is simple. Most people give in to others as a way to manage their own anxiety and their discomfort with conflict. Or, they give in hoping it will make their spouse happy. The problem is that they’ve just done damage to themselves and the relationship.

Any time either partner walks away from a compromise even a little bit unhappy, they’ve done damage to the relationship.

Why? This sets the stage for unspoken, but expected, reciprocity.

I’m betting you’ve had these same types of thoughts: “I gave in and we went to visit your parents even though I didn’t want to, so I’m expecting some sex to make up for it.” Or, “You played golf on Saturday, so you need to make up for it by helping out more around the house.”

In the classic exchange-based type of relationship, where giving is expected to be returned in kind, you fall victim to keeping score—and no relationship will ever be “fair” or equal with score-keeping.

Instead, the lack of reciprocation creates frustration and disappointment, and these little bricks of disappointment will build up over time and become a wall of resentment.


Photo by visualpanic

Look at it this way: compromising means doing something other than what you know is best. In essence, compromising means not being who you are.

Here’s an example:

When my wife and I are discussing a particular subject, my stance on the subject is either right or wrong.

If I’m right, or at least think I’m right, then my job is to (politely, carefully, kindly—which is everything) state my beliefs and thoughts; it’s important that I not compromise my convictions about the matter.

My wife’s job is to listen and carefully consider what I’ve said. If, having done that, she concludes that in some relevant way the position I’ve taken is wrong or mistaken, she is to (politely, carefully, kindly) tell me what she thinks. Then I am to truly listen to her (as opposed to, say, pouting and walking out of the room or personally attacking her).

Through this back-and-forth process, an elegant, mutually-satisfactory solution arises. And nowhere in this give-and-take was there any compromise.

Instead, what happened (if it was a good discussion) was a time of discovery, consideration, alteration, reassessment, conviction, respect, love, and appreciation.

If I started off wrong, but the discussion now helps me see that I’m wrong, changing my mind to do or think what’s right isn’t a compromise, it’s growing up. It’s the development of wisdom. It’s grace.

Too often, compromising means cheapening yourself; to purposefully weaken your own grip on what you know to be right. And any spouse who would ask you to do that to yourself—and to what you know is best—isn’t working for what’s best for the two of you.

So, the next time you’re tempted to compromise in your marriage, ask yourself this: “Am I acting with love and integrity from the best in me, or merely caving to keep the peace?”

Your turn. Do you think compromise is a good thing?

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Comments

  1. I think the primary problem with this article shows up in your last sentence, which frames all conflict as a strict either/or. Sure, sometimes one person is right and the other wrong, and then talking it out (carefully and kindly) is what’s needed. But sometimes you’re both wrong, or you’re not wrong, but you’re missing information and need to learn more in order to gain the needed perspective.

    The other problem is that earlier in the article you’re talking about wants (golf, visiting, etc.) and then later on in the article you’re talking about matters of principle. I don’t think these can be handled the same way. Giving up my wants sometimes makes me unhappy, but giving them up *is* a matter of integrity, because I promised to love, and love involves putting someone else before yourself. It’s charity to sometimes have steak when you like chicken better, you know? It’s not compromising my personhood – lying about my preferences would be, but not insisting on them isn’t.

    Finally, I think you’re right about the poisonous effects of bitter *thoughts* about reciprocity, but a great deal of the poison can be drawn by just speaking those thoughts aloud to your spouse. There’s a huge difference between unspoken resentment and an honest statement of, “Okay, we’ll do this thing you want, but you should know it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part, so afterwards can we do this other thing that I like?” That’s good and honest and helpful. (And compromise. :D )

    • Sure there are many different levels of conflict (where do you want to eat, you’re spending too much time away from the family, etc.) but the main goal is to always be in line with what you value and believe.

      “There’s a huge difference between unspoken resentment and an honest statement of, “Okay, we’ll do this thing you want, but you should know it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part, so afterwards can we do this other thing that I like?” ” So what happens when you honestly and calmly state this to your spouse and they say no?

      Many times we fall victim to the belief that if I can just explain my side of things well enough, my spouse will come around to my way of thinking, reciprocate out of care and love and/or understand where I’m coming from. But what really happens is there are many issues where couples reach gridlock.

      Gridlock (which is a natural part of every committed relationship) doesn’t happen from lack of communication, and more communication won’t resolve it. Nor will compromise or agreeing to disagree.

      I’ve got 2 posts on the idea of gridlock and marriage:
      http://bit.ly/avr2rl
      http://bit.ly/b7Ntvv

      I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      Thank you for the conversation.

      I love communicating about communication!

      • A friend of mine pointed out that you’re not using a consistent definition of “compromise” throughout the whole article, and I think that’s part of the problem here. She said, “At first he says that compromise means making concessions. Then he says it means that both parties go away equally unhappy. Then he says it’s not being who you are. Then he describes something he doesn’t call compromise – a situation where conversation about thoughts, desires, and other information leads to a solution. This is compromise in the best sense of the term – not to mention the definition he provided from the dictionary. He takes the dictionary definition as implicating a bad outcome for both sides, but he also uses the same strategy as that outlined in the dictionary definition to explain what he thinks you ought to do.”

        I think perhaps the only thing she’s missing is that you (might?) be trying to say that compromise is when both give in, and in your conversation approach only one (the wrong one) gives in?

        Anyway, I think what you’re trying to get at is that it’s a bad idea to act counter to your convictions – that is, it’s a bad idea to agree when you’re not truly convinced. I agree: it’s acting in bad faith, and that’s going to eventually make you a bad person, and bad persons make bad marriages. I really do think you’ve got a good point there.

        You ask: “So what happens when you honestly and calmly state this to your spouse and they say no?” I think the answer depends on the particular marriage – I know the answer I’d give wouldn’t work at all for some of my friends! I do think sometimes the right thing to do is to give in. You say, “I disagree, but I’m giving you this one.” I think you have to. Not on moral imperatives, no (I’m a Christian, so I’d put it: You don’t sin to please your spouse), but on things you feel strongly about? Sometimes. Without pretending to feelings you don’t have. <-I think that's the key. It's the pretense that'll kill love. At least it would for me.

        But I'll admit, I've seen marriages where I have no idea how the two people are ever going to figure out their conflicts! And I think in those marriages that even if people follow your advice, and have the kind of conversations you advocate, they're still not going to agree.

        (Which led me to read your articles about gridlock. I like those. Heh: "the answer is: grow up!")

        • I’m with you Jessica. What happens if neither party compromises, but they STILL don’t agree on anything. Both partners will STILL walk away unhappy, because NEITHER one got what they wanted and the conflict was never truly settled. There is nothing wrong with making a concession on certain things if you know it will achieve the greater good in the marriage which is peace and unity. Actually, both parties don’t even have to walk away unhappy from the situation, especially if they realize that they BOTH are willing to make some compromises to please each other. When you’re in a relationship, it isn’t all about what you want. This idea that YOUR WAY is always the right way is not true and you may not always be thinking in your marriage’s best self interest but just your own selfish interest. For example, you may not want to go visit you in laws, but you concede, because it makes your spouse happy to see you and his parents getting along (wouldn’t want the same thing for your spouse and your in laws) and your kids haven’t seen their grandparents in ages. See, it’s not always about what you WANT. Also, if you do compromise, you shouldn’t expect reciprocity for doing so. That would make you a manipulative person who only does something if they can always get something in return. Sometimes you DONT get anything in return and that’s ok. When you raise your kids, you don’t get a thank you from them for wiping their behinds, feeding, clothing, and cleaning up behind them everyday. Other than Mother’s day and occasional ‘thanks Mom, I Love you” when they get older and actually realize your sacrifice, your hard work usually goes un thanked on a regular basis. But it’s ok with you, because your actions were out of the best self interest for your kids and not to manipulate them to do stuff for you in the future. If you don’t do that with your kids, who will one day grow up and move out on you, you shouldn’t do that to the spouse that you plan on living with for the rest of your lives.

      • I have to say I agree with the above commentor. There are issues of principle and just the day to day issues of sharing a life with someone. Compromise is essential on the little day to day of life. Some issues are worth disagreements – some aren’t. It isn’t “giving in” so much as saying, “I love you enough to put your needs ahead of mine on this”.

  2. ITA with Jessica…could not have said it better!

    :-)

  3. I disagree – compromise is vital! But communicating about that compromise is also vital. I’m not talking about “giving in”, but true compromise.

    Let’s leave the little quibbles alone, and go straight to the big fish.

    For example, I want to move to Sydney (my family), but he wants to move to Perth (his family).

    Clearly neither of us is “wrong” and neither can be enlightened by further information. We know the details, we know where we want to live. So, what to do? Split the family? Not an option. Compromise? Of course!

    Perhaps we will go to Perth, but I get regular trips to Sydney to visit my mum, and time to chat on the phone with her, uninterrupted, at least twice a week. And next time we move, we’ll go to Sydney. Compromise.

    But how do I know Sydney is next on the cards? Because I trust him to look after my best interests, in the same way I look after his. Because I have communicated my needs and expectations and he has listened. And together, with compromise, we have worked out a way for everyone to be satisfied.

    I don’t count this as damaging to my relationship. Instead, it has been strengthened through reciprocity and trust that is given and proven to be worthy.

    • This is a great example of a gridlock issue. You can’t simply agree to disagree when it comes to matters such as this.

      This is probably splitting hairs, but I don’t see this as compromise … this it two people seeking what they want together. The issue is do either of you hold something over the other after the decision. Because when the rubber really meets the road, you each choose what you decided, you can’t take it out on the other.

      • avatar
        Phronsie says:

        It is kind of compromise though because they could in fact choose to live somewhere in the middle and then nobody gets what they want and they are equally unhappy (by one of your definitions).

        I don’t see how it isn’t compromise but that might be because my definition is different than yours.

  4. I agree that score keeping is problematic, but I don’t agree that it’s a necessary byproduct of compromise. I also believe there are times when each side can carefully, patiently, kindly, etc. explain or discuss their different positions and still not come to an equally mutually satisfactory result. A lot of times, one person has to think to him or herself, “How important is this particular issue to me?” or “How much does it really matter that we do this my way?” and if the answer is “Not that much,” that person should compromise by “giving in” for lack of a better word. There is nothing wrong with being selfless; it’s only a problem if you go on the play the martyr, act in passive-aggressive manner, and/or become resentful later.

    I think the last sentence is missing something crucial. It’s missing the part about the intent. And I also think “keeping the peace” is an okay reason to do things often; the problem is if you are “keeping the peace” only as a temporary measure to avoid confrontation, not because it is what is best for your family in the long run. I would reword the last sentence to say: “Am I acting with love and integrity from the best in me, in order to do what is best for my family, or merely caving to keep temporary peace?”

  5. avatar
    Alejandro says:

    I think happiness of Conjugal life is mainly depends on understanding between them.
    Moreover it is depends on luck.
    What is your opinion on love after marriage????

    Thanks
    Alejandro

  6. I think Jessica, in the first comment, does a good job summing up my thoughts on this article.

  7. In your article you say that compromise is bad, and instead both participants should discuss problems until they reach a mutually acceptable solution. Isn’t that was compromise is? If my husbands and I are trying to figure out a plan of action, I’ll have three solutions that I think are the best (A, B, C) and my husband will have three that he thinks is the best (1, 2, 3). Through discussion we may be able to introduce new solutions to our top three lists, or do a little re-ranking. Nevertheless, at the end of the discussion we’ll go with the highest priority solution that we both share – maybe B and 3. Neither of us went with our ideal solution, because our commitment to each other is more important than sticking to our convictions. That’s called compromise.

    Now if your list of acceptable solutions does not match up with your partner’s list of acceptable solutions AT ALL, then I agree that there is a problem. But rather than taking this as a sign that your relationship is unable to progress further, accept that you and your partner are two different people, with different priorities. Work it out like adults – don’t just dig your heels in and insist on your own way. There is no one in the world who you will agree with 100% of the time. If you insist on looking for this in your spouse, one of you will end up hiding disagreements and resentments in an effort to keep the peace, and become the subservient partner in the relationship.

  8. I would never compromise my core beliefs or values, nor would I expect my husband to. But when it comes to day-to-day issues that crop up, we are not always able to reach an “elegant, mutually-satisfactory solution” so sometimes we each need to make compromises. Yes we often do this to ‘keep the peace’, but why should that be a bad thing? We can’t always get our own way, and sometimes we just need to accept this and move on.

    I also wrote a post about marriage this week:- http://teaspoonsandtinsel.com/2012/04/02/the-art-of-marriage/

  9. I actually like this article. I think that maybe the illustrations used are what are throwing people off a bit. Golfing/visiting families could be just a want, but I am guessing in this case he is probably referring to it in terms of different priorities.
    If you are golfing at the expense of family time the issue is not golfing (a want), the issue is what is more valuable, family or golf (priorities).
    Visiting in-laws is a good thing. But if you are doing it so much to the extent that it is tearing down your marriage than the priority thing comes up again. Is the relationship with parents or spouse more important. You need to have a mutual understanding so that neither relationship is ruined.

    Coming to the point where you actually have the same priorities is not compromise, but the two working together, as he said, to mutually agree.

    “Through this back-and-forth process, an elegant, mutually-satisfactory solution arises.” Love that!

  10. I must say that I respectfully disagree with your article. My husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary next Wednesday. We have each made sacrifices and compromises in our marriage, both on big and small items, but never on morals and values.

    I would love to know, then, if you feel so strongly that compromise is caving in and you shouldn’t compromise, then what happens when you and your spouse reach an impasse on a particular issue? If neither of you are willing to compromise, do you stay angry at each other? How does the matter get resolved?

  11. I suppose I am seeing this as a semantics issue. True compromise isn’t even possible for very young children or adults who have not developed emotionally. Conceding, giving up, saying “Fine!” and storming out or even saying “okay honey” quietly and then stewing about it later is not compromise. What you describe, the give and take of ideas and one or both parties deciding that their initial position was wrong or easily abandoned in favor of another, is compromise.

    Good parents spend a lot of time teaching their children how to compromise. Sometimes you just have to take the smaller cookie and be okay with it. Being okay with it is the hard part, the part that takes development and growing up, the part that allows us to wholeheartedly give the bigger cookie to a loved one sometimes.

    You say, “If I started off wrong, but the discussion now helps me see that I’m wrong, changing my mind to do or think what’s right isn’t a compromise, it’s growing up.” This is my point. Young children, and adults who still behave like children, can not do this. They can’t compromise. They can be forced to concede, then cross their arms, pout, say mean things maybe, and go away feeling robbed. The real compromise comes later in development.

    • I think you nailed this one for me.

    • avatar
      Queen of Chaos says:

      I think you nailed it. I’ve been reading through thinking that perhaps using the phrase “Don’t compromise” was used to grab attention but has unintentionally detracted from the message. I agree with the sentiment of the article, but I think the term compromise has created too much smoke!

  12. Well now that you put it that way….. I think most people define compromise NOT as giving in bur as coming to a mutually beneficial agreement. That is probably why all the relationship experts advocate compromising. But now that you put it that way NO i can’t say that I agree with compromising. Certainly a marriage is a tool that we are able to use to help us grow. The problems I think arise most when one partner wants to stay the same. That is when you get your definition of compromising happening. Very insightful post Corey!

  13. First, I really like this article, and think you make great points.

    However, after reading all of the comments, I have to agree that your use of the word “compromise” is back and forth and partly incorrect. Also, using the word “concede” would be incorrect. What you describe by saying “Through this back-and-forth process, an elegant, mutually-satisfactory solution arises.” IS in fact compromise. I think a better title would be replacing compromise with “Yeld”, and then explaining the difference between “good compromise” and “bad compromise”. Bad compromise would be where one or both parties come away unhappy, and through either poor communication or immaturity (or both), one or both parties have resentments, bad or unspoken expectations of reciprocation, etc. But using your examples, they would come away with compromise that, if done correctly, does not leave either unhappy or resentful.

    Overall though, I really like your article, I think it is simply a matter of wording throwing people off.

  14. My husband & I compromise with each other often, per our definition of the word. Sometimes it means agreeing to disagree & dropping it, if it’s just an issue that we disagree on like politics. Neither of us is going to present a missing puzzle piece and convince the other of the “correct” political stance.

    Other times compromise, per our definition of the word, does indeed mean “caving in”; for example, whether or not to make a purchase. Typically it’s something I feel strongly that we need for the house, but he doesn’t want to spend the money. Sometimes he caves & we buy it; other times I cave & we skip it. The compromise in either case is that the “loser” of the conflict does not pout, & the “winner” does not gloat, & the subject is up for further discussion at another point in time. No keeping score, either.

    And compromise, per our definition of the word, also comes in the form of mutual agreement wherein we each give up something so we can both walk away happy. This has a lot to do with perspective (glass half-full vs. glass half-empty) because we could just as easily say we both walk away UNhappy. But because we love & respect each other, we choose happy. Getting my way is sometimes less important than ensuring my partner’s happiness, & vice versa. We don’t engage in immature actions like withholding affection, & we don’t have issues wherein one spouse isn’t putting the family first.

    I think another comment said this is all a matter of semantics, & I agree. Per your definition of the word compromise, we aren’t engaging in such. But per our definition of the word, we are. It’s all a bit irrelevant what we call it, so long as neither party is unhappy & we’re both taking care of each other’s needs & wants, as well as those of our kids.

    A rose by any other name is still stinky when a dog poops on it. <— love me some trashed up phrases! :)

    Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz
    http://www.theworld4realz.com/
    theworldforrealz@gmail.com

  15. I think you would be pretty hard pressed to find a successful marriage where compromise isn’t in the picture.

    Probably a bigger danger to marriages is selfishness rather than the willingness to compromise. In the “don’t compromise” model, you’re walking a pretty fine line between a working relationship and overt, unadulterated selfishness. I’d be careful how hard I bite on the advice given above.

    On the other hand, maybe when we disagree, a better approach is finding a win-win rather than a win-lose and resulting reciprocal win-lose. Win-wins cause everyone walk away equally happy rather than equally dissatisfied.

  16. I don’t believe their is a right or wrong when dealing with opinion. I think as long as you honestly express your opinion and then compromise on a way to deal with an issue is a practical solution that does not sell anyone out. It is practical, not ideal, but we don’t live in an ideal world and we don’t always agree but we still can really love someone and that is why we compromise because the long term commitment is important to us.

  17. I understand your dislike of “compromise”, but in marriage there HAS to be service. Ideally, the situation discussed near the end of your post would happen perfectly every time there was a disagreement in any marriage, but because we are fallen sinners, there is no WAY my husband and I will interact that way every time we disagree (no matter how much we try to pursue Jesus).

    There are times when I need to let my husband be right, no matter what I think because that is how we learn and grow as a couple. Both of us are bond to be disappointed and let down by the other person in our marriage because we are two very imperfect people. Your idea is nice, but I don’t see how it can be executed perfectly on this side of death.

  18. Love this…and all the comments :)
    For me, the main point is being true to MYSELF…and in that, being true to my marriage. If you compromise to the point of losing who you are…who you were CREATED TO BE…then what kind of marriage is that?
    Thanks for this. I’ll need to check out your site.
    selena

  19. This article had me really confused. Too much of anything is bad. I think you are warning of over-compromising, such as being hen-pecked, which is obviously not healthy. Of course, a marriage needs compromise! Two “my way or the highway” personalities (or even just one) would probably not make for a very successful marriage.

  20. I agree completely! In fact, it is how my marriage of 8 years is run. We are still learning how to more appropriately communicate, but compromise has never been something I consider good.

    Concession because the other party is feeling weak or is under-equipped is sometimes a gift. But never compromise.

    Thank you for writing this.

  21. I disagree that compromise is caving. In a healthy relationship I think compromise can take place without expecting something in return, and without resentment. My husband & I have been married for 36 years and one thing we’ve learned to do is take full responsibility for our own dccisions. What I mean is, if I compromise on something, I do it freely and without resentment, and don’t use it later in an argument or expect something in return. We also try to be clear about how important an issue is to each of us. We’ve learned that frequently an issue is more important to one of us than the other, so we compromise. We’ve both compromised over the years for each other and I think it’s one of the things that makes us feel closer.

  22. One other thing we’ve learned — there is rarely a *right* or *wrong*. There are so many different ways to perceive a situation or issue, and one’s views can change over time. If you go into a discussion thinking you’re “right” it’s hard to hear another point of view. We’ve learned to say “here’s how I see it” or “here’s how I feel about it”. Thinking in terms of right and wrong can be so dangerous. If one person is right, that means the other is wrong. How can a feeling or opinion be wrong? I would get rid of that right/wrong idea asap!

  23. I feel like you have put into words what my husband and I have naturally decided for our marriage. We didn’t read a book or hear a lecture on this, but it happened naturally and we’ve had a very very happy marriage these past 3 years.
    We don’t compromise. We don’t fight. We have these (sometimes heated) discussions which are somewhere in the middle of the two. At the end of these discussions, we both feel “right” and we know exactly how we’re going to proceed, together.
    An example for us is when my husband came home last week from a class he’s retaking on God’s heart for the world. We took the class together a while back. He came home and sat down with a broad, bold statement that sounded something like, “We should give more money to these specific sending agencies than we give to our local church.”
    If we would have agreed to give half of our tithe to these agencies and give less to our local church as a result, we both would have been unhappy. That is compromise, both sides conceding, both going away unhappy, and both bending to the others conviction.
    And to me, our marriage would not have been stronger as a result.
    Instead, we had a discussion. Together, we fine-tuned my husband’s broad statement, searched and sorted through our individual convictions and decided that we BOTH want to be generous people and we BOTH want to invest our money in God’s kingdom and we should do that by giving to BOTH our local church and to sending agencies that we BOTH believe in. We agreed to continue to have soft hearts for agencies that we can be happy to get behind. We both went to bed (a little later than I wanted to) happy and energized by all the ways God can and will use our money.
    I think that this was a day-to-day decision about how we use our money. I believe that often, our day to day decisions are the core of who we are and what we value. I believe this is what Corey has verbalized. So, thanks!

  24. Interesting read – with many viewpoints – seems the semantics are hanging many up on this article.

    For us – going strong for 9 years…we believe if you put your Marriage first, it will ALWAYS lead to the right decision. Sometimes putting our marriage first, means that I need to recognize his side of an issue is more important to him than mine is to me – so what is best for our marriage is for me to make a concession. Other times, I feel stronger about something so my husband recognizes that and responds. And those time where we both are strong-willed – both need to come to an amicable solution where both of us might have to “give in”. But in all this time I have never felt slighted or that “he gets his way more” because we are not putting any one person first – we are putting our relationship first.
    Thankfully, it is a RARE occasion where discussions ever get to this level of problem solving. If both parties are willing to give to each other – it rarely escalates. And you give because you want to – not because you have to…
    Cheers!

  25. I know a couple where the woman is Christian and the man is agnostic, and one of the issues they had in getting married was somehow working through their religious beliefs. In their case, they got married and agreed that the kids will be raised Christian, and from what I gather, the husband sees no problem in it at all. So yes maybe he compromised his stake in having his kids be raised Christian instead of agnostic, but maybe to him it wasn’t as important as marrying the woman he loved. Now I don’t know if he’ll resent this years down the line, but from what I see, I don’t think he will.

    As far as more petty compromises, it is imperative to compromise. We go to your family for Christmas this year, we go to mine next year, etc.

  26. just believe in yourself and your marriage,,

  27. well, i used to think i did, but your post brings up some points i want to consider…

  28. avatar
    s anderson says:

    Good luck with your marriage, dude!

  29. I think I’m in the majority here; I totally believe in compromise. Because I love my husband more than I love winning, I can give up something I want without holding it against him. Sometimes it’s because what he’s wanting is more important to him than what I want is important to me. If I *choose* to compromise what I want, I don’t want away bitter at losing; I walk away being glad that we’ve come to a solution, knowing that if something is really important to me, he’ll be willing to compromise, too. I love what Kate said, ” It isn’t “giving in” so much as saying, “I love you enough to put your needs ahead of mine on this”.

  30. The example you gave of talking things through until a mutually agreeable approach is reached is exactly what I (most people?) call compromise.

    In disagreements, sometimes there is give and take on both sides, sometimes there isn’t.

    The content of this post is excellent, but I think it’s wrapped up in an inaccurate message/title; you are definitely recommending compromise ;-)

  31. avatar
    Josh @ Love an Diamonds says:

    Compromising is the most important skill in marriage. Once you can negotiate compromises, you basically eliminate conflict. Well written.

  32. I referenced this article in one that I wrote on my blog for this past Monday. Here is the link: http://leadyofam.blogspot.com/2012/04/desert-week-what-is-love-baby-dont-hurt.html

    Come by and check it out if you have a few minutes.

  33. Many very good points made in this article. However, better title would have been, “Don’t be grudge-holding resentful twit with unrealistic and unspoken expectations.”

  34. So that we’re all on the same page, the dictionary defines compromise as: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

  35. avatar
    Michael Caudill says:

    With all due respect, you’re an idiot. Whether you like it or not, the back and forth process you describe is compromise. In fact it is exactly the way compromise is supposed to happen, in relationships, at work and in our government. Compromise is not a bad thing. Compromise is coming together for what is best for all poeple, not just yourself.

  36. There is a lot of focus on compromise but what I get from the article is when a spouse is keeping score of lost compromises they tend to use it as fuel for resentment. I see it as one spouse having an idea of where they want to go in life while the resentful spouse deflects other personal issues which only add to the resentment. Cory makes a good point that the minute one spouse compromises their beliefs and goals in life that person starts the course to losing oneself. The ultimate goal is to live a life together but achieve personal satisfaction separately. If your not happy with yourself 9 out of 10 times your spouse isn’t going to be happy with you either.

  37. I came across this article and have to say although I don’t completely agree with you in that compromise is a bad thing- I think a lot of it depends in the circumstances that require it. On that note, I believe that some circumstances and situations require compromise whilst others require collaboration- the true challenge is understanding which one to opt for when. I have explained more of this in my article on the link http://committedat18.com/a-pinch-of-compromise-and-a-drop-of-collaboration/ However one cannot ignore that many of us obviously compromise the wrong way hence the debate taking place.

  38. Searching on Google, looking what Christ teaches about sacrifice vs compromise, your article came up.

    I must admit I scanned but some of the responses; here is my take. I do not belief in compromise but rather in sacrifice. 1st let me use christ who did not compromise but rather sacrificed vs adam & eve whose fall was as result of compromise, consider the possibility if Adam had rather sacrificed his relationship with Even by sticking to what he rather knew to be true.

    At a personal level, we have maintaining an additional house for the last 8 months, yet for one reason or another it never been fully utilised. My wife got it to rediscover herself and to forgive because our life / standard of living had taken a knock financially in tbe last 5 years. I find myself at a cross road as to whether I go
    on with this or rather stick to my belief that the best option is together that we stand the best chance of getting our life A in order otherwise we perpetuate the strain.

    I but wonder which of the opposing views is compromising and what is the sacrifice gives the long lasting benefit?

  39. I think there are actually two meanings with the term to compromise. Firstly there is the definition used in the beginning of this article which is what I think successful relationships rely on and then there is the one which the author also alludes to. That is the one where the term is to compromise your values, like do something against your core beliefs, or to be found in a compromising position like a married politician with a prostitute. The second is definitely seen as an undesirable,negative thing. So I think the author is mixing the two together, going back and forth and causing confusion to himself and others. So he is talking about the negative connotation of compromise whilst quoting the positive meaning of compromise

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