The word compromise gets a bad rap. When I think of people compromising I imagine a place of war, two guys standing on a battlefield after days of violence agreeing to each other’s terms. They don’t like each other, in fact they were at literal war with each other moments before but now they have come to an agreement.
Do you ever feel like that’s what compromise in your marriage feels like? You are gearing up for battle, you’ve got your list of their faults as your shield and and angry rebuddles as your sword. You are feeling good, you’re going to get what you want because you DESERVE it. You shouldn’t have to lie down while they stomp all over you. You have pride, you have a running list of things you’ve done that they don’t do and if it comes down to it, you’ll just do what you want anyway.
Now here is where this all falls apart… compromise shouldn’t be me vs. him. That isn’t what compromise is about. In fact, the word compromise way back in the 15th century was defined as “a coming to terms, a settlement of differences by mutual concessions.” Now I’m going to be real with you here. I hate compromises in my marriage. I am a competitive person and deep down I want to get my way (neon blinking sign that says “child of wrath” should hang above my head). “Mutual concessions” is not my go-to move in my marriage.
Prior to being a believer I would argue back and forth and there were numerous times where there was no answer decided, we just moved on. Sometimes we just went to bed and woke up the next morning like it never happened. If you’re married you probably recognize these situations and are thinking back on your own arguments. That’s the silly thing about marriage, you’re going to fight. There is always going to be another fight and that’s okay. You have to learn to be okay with it (I’m still learning this).
When you live with someone you aren’t going to agree 100% of the time. If you mix in stressful jobs, commutes, family issues, friend drama, children, scheduling, chores, etc. it all becomes a hot mess pretty quickly. That’s why compromising needs to be important to your heart.
You’ve probably heard that we should both give 100% and I completely agree but sometimes the other person doesn’t have 100% to give. Maybe they have a big presentation at work, the baby isn’t sleeping through the night or they are having emotional struggles, the list could keep going. Sometimes we are giving 110% and that’s okay. There are times when “mutual concessions” are what will make your marriage healthier and stronger.
I’ve been compromising with scheduling recently to be able to attend a Bible study on Monday evening. I take our daughter to church small group and leave at 7:30 so she can be in bed at 8. My husband gets some time to himself and we both say goodnight to her together. Monday’s I’m not home in time to tuck her in and before we made this compromise I wasn’t usually home for bedtime Sunday’s either. Like I said earlier, I want to get my way but this was the compromise we all needed.
Compromising doesn’t mean rolling over or giving in. We need to remember that this isn’t a battle in the first place. This is someone we love and they have an opposing opinion that we should take into consideration. Compromising is showing grace and love to our spouse in a way that reflects God’s love and grace towards us. It should be celebrated and not shunned.