Creating Compromise In Your Marriage
Meeting In The Middle
It is common to have differences in opinion and want, you are of course two DIFFERENT people. When a couple is able to listen to one another and understand that each individuals wants, needs, and opinions are valid it helps to bring calm to the conversation. Once you have an understanding of each other and have validated one another, it is time to find a compromise that works for both parts of the couple.
An example of meeting in the middle could be a scenario similar to this:
It’s date night and Juan is an introvert; Julia is an extrovert.
Juan wants to go out to dinner alone and then meet up with friends to go dancing. Julia is fine to go to dinner alone, but then just wanted to come home and watch a movie snuggled up together on the couch.
This could easily become a disagreement that ends in date night being cancelled and both parts of the couple angry, disappointed, and feeling unimportant. OR Juan and Julia could end this conversation by choosing to compromise by going out to dinner with friends (Juan can socialize) and then going home to snuggle up and watch a movie.
When a couple is able to compromise so that both parts of the couple feel like they were important and that their thoughts mattered, it shows that no one person was “right” or “wrong” but that both people mattered.
Helping One Another
Do you and your spouse “keep score” of all the things that you feel you have had to change for one another?
This leads to feeling like only one of you is creating problems within your relationship. This is rarely the case. If there is something that is frustrating to you about your spouse or if there is an annoying behavior that drives, you crazy? If your answer was yes, then I imagine that there is something that you do that is equally irritating to your spouse. Do you already know what it is?
Instead of blaming your partner for a specific behavior and threatening them with change, think of something you can each do.
“Hey Honey, it’s very frustrating to me when I am trying to talk to you and you are constantly staring at your phone, but I know that I do the same thing to you when I’m watching tv; would you be willing to set your phone down while we are talking and I will do my best to pause the tv when you want my attention?
No one wants to feel attacked! Changing the way we address smaller issues with our spouse will allow for greater change in the big things.
There Is More Than One “Right” Way
You didn’t grow up with the same family or the same background. You didn’t grow up with the same rules or the same lessons. Why then as couples do we feel that we have to do things the same way? It is ok to have different preferences in how things are done, but it is not ok to force your preferences onto your spouse. There is more than one “correct” way to do most things.
If you have asked your spouse to drive your family to a park for a picnic lunch, then you are telling them that you trust them to get you to your destination. It’s ok if they don’t go the way that you would have gone. Unless your spouse asks for your opinion on which way to go or for help of any kind, let them take the lead.
When you ask your spouse to do something and then proceed to tell them how to do it, it can make them feel incompetent, untrustworthy, stupid, etc. Oftentimes your spouse will wonder why you didn’t just do the task yourself if you didn’t feel they were capable of doing it.
Compromise isn’t always a conversation with your spouse. Sometimes it is as simple as allowing them to do something their way and not trying to change it. What About A Trial Run?
Sometimes there are things that can’t be met in the middle and one part of the couple feels like there is a better way to do something. Instead of taking the time to argue, have a conversation about whether or not a trial run of the new idea could be a good solution.
A trial run is just what it sounds like; a trial
A trial run would typically be a temporary change that lasts for about 2 weeks. When the prearranged time is up both parts of the couple sit down and discuss whether or not the new method that was put in place was more beneficial than the old one.
If you are not on the same page at the end of the trial then it is time to sit in that space of knowing that more than one way can be correct. Is there any way to combine the old and the new? Is there an explanation as to why one method worked better than the other?
Take the time to listen to one another and remember that you are on the same team. You are not working against one another. The end goal is to do what is best for you as a couple or your family as a whole if children are involved.
Communication can be difficult. Compromise can be even more difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Many times, the reason that we have trouble is because of our innate selfishness. We think that we know better that our way is best and that if our spouse would just listen to us then we wouldn’t have a problem.
When we choose to partner with our spouse for life, it means that we choose to compromise with them. You chose your partner because of who they are. Dive into that and remember that you are better together than apart. Your two brains are better than one. Where one of you struggles or falls short, the other one can be there to lift you up.
Making decisions whether big or small should benefit the both of you. Marriage is about selflessness and self-sacrifice. When both parts of the couple are putting their spouse first, the desire to want to be right diminishes.
Work together, find the best solution for the both of you. When you are stuck and don’t know what path to take next, pray together and seek wise counsel. Don’t let the small things create a canyon between you