First of let’s distinguish between compromising and settling. Settling is when something is beneath you or something you are dissatisfied with but you are just saying yes because you think you can’t do any better. Now let’s talk about do you have to compromise in a relationship and what does compromise mean.
Compromise in a relationship – how to make it work
What is compromise?
Compromising is discussing, communicating, and coming to a decision where you consider someone else opinion. Sometimes your idea is chosen, sometimes you come up with something in between and sometimes your partner chooses.
Compromise by definition is ‘an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.’ But it doesn’t necessarily have to always be a concession. It can be that this time you agree with your spouse and next time your partner does something for you.
For example, if your spouse gets a really good job and wants to move to another city you both discuss it and as a unit see the pros and cons. You might, for example, have to give up your job for this time. But then in the future, if you want to move to another city to study your spouse would do that for you.
Compromise has a bad reputation as if putting someone else’s needs before your own is always a bad thing. Now if you are doing it every time yeah it’s probably a bad thing but if you are a family unit you can’t survive without at times putting someone else’s needs before your own.
We are taught we should get everything we want. If we don’t we are settling for something. But there is no way to be in a healthy relationship without at some point doing something for someone else.
It can be something small as going to a restaurant you don’t like but your partner loves. Or it can be something big like moving.
Take your partner into consideration
Take your own needs into consideration and your partner’s needs into consideration and come up with decisions but don’t expect that you are going to go into a relationship where it’s your way or the highway and that relationship is going to work. If you go in thinking that is what will happen then you can’t survive.
If for example, your partner listens to everything you say resentment will build in him and the same will happen if you listen to everything. But there is an in-between and that is the golden point.
Don’t keep count
I don’t mean that keep count of ‘oh I did that for him’ and ‘she did that for me.’ In the long run, it will play out.
Everyone values different things
You also probably don’t value the same thing so that is why it is important to understand your partner’s love language and compromise based on that.
Take a love language quiz and figure that out. You could be valuing gestures while your partner values time. So, if you understand that it makes it easier to understand when to compromise.
If you go in thinking you are just going to do you and keep doing you like everyone is told to do then you are probably going to not get ahead.
Work at your strengths and what interests you both when deciding when to compromise.
Love isn’t enough
Love isn’t enough to keep a relationship going. At some point, you will have to make some hard decisions and that’s when compromise comes into play.
Compromise doesn’t mean that you are letting someone take advantage of you or crossing your boundaries in a relationship. It doesn’t mean you have people-pleasing behaviour or aren’t being healthy. Of course, everything when done to an extreme is bad but for a relationship to work, you have to compromise about some things.
But the modern world has made us believe if we do something for our partner we are giving up our independence. If you do something your partner wants it is not giving up your own will always so don’t shut the idea down just because your partner asked you. For example, if your partner doesn’t want you to drink and not drinking isn’t a big deal to you then it’s okay to say you won’t do it. Don’t make it a he told me so now I must fight against it type of thing. Sometimes, we try so hard to keep our identity that we become non-composing about things that don’t even matter to us. Now of-course if it is a big deal for you then stand your ground but when deciding ask yourself is it really a big deal to you?
There are also win-win situations where for example if you want to watch a tv show and your partner wants to watch a tv show instead of picking any of your choices you pick the third choice. That way no one’s way is done and it’s the third pick this way there is no resentment and everyone feels like a winner. If there is a point where you can come up with another option try that and see how that works.
Abuse is not okay
There are some things that compromise is a no-go for and those involve any kind of abuse whether it is physical or emotional. Then know there is always a way out. You are strong enough to be on your own if necessary.
Ask yourself these questions
- Do you expect in the relationship that it is your way or the highway?
- Do you think that is sustainable?
- Are you willing to make decisions when taking your partner into consideration?
- Do you think your partner should take your views into consideration when making a decision?
- How do you plan to take your partner into consideration
- What does compromise mean to you? Is it something you are willing to do?
- Would you want your partner to compromise for you?
- Do you think a relationship can work without compromise?