In life, some conflicts are inevitable, and conflict between your spouse and you is no exception. Often this leads to one of three things. One, you or your spouse keep insisting, and no matter who gets their way you’re both left with lingering bitterness. Two, one of you might give up and passively go along with the other’s whims to avoid conflict, which will build resentment. Three, you both compromise.
Some people think compromise in marriage is just like options one and two, but it’s really not. It isn’t a lose-lose situation, instead it’s a way for both you and your spouse to come to a greater understanding. The trick is knowing how to do it right.
Keep an Open Mind
An open mind doesn’t mean accepting new ideas unquestioningly. No, it means simply considering another point of view. If a marriage is going to succeed, an open mind is required for both parties.
Marriage Requires Teamwork
Unmarried people make most of their decisions based off of individual need. In marriage, though, it’s a matter of two people with different ideas, but there are two ways to look at this. While some might see this as a bad thing, it really isn’t. All it requires is for one to reframe their point of view to realize now there are two perspectives to look at, instead of just one limited one. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.
Marriage Requires Sacrifice
In some matters of life, it’s possible to be self-sacrificial. Sometimes compromise does require give up something. Now, this shouldn’t be done one-sidedly, and yes, there are instances when some things (such as morals) probably shouldn’t be given up. With that said, there are certainly many things both people in the marriage give up at times for the benefit of the other. Just be sure it’s “give and take,” and not just one person sacrificing and the other always getting their way. Remember, this is something both people need to commit to doing.
How to Compromise in Your Marriage
There are a few basic steps one can take towards compromising better.
Set the Tone of the Discussion
The first thing to consider is the tone of the discussion. Avoid using harsh words, and make sure the timing is right. Feel the room. Speak to one another with kindness, and avoid devolving in to bickering right from the beginning.
Find Common Ground
This will be the true test. Compromise isn’t just getting the other person to see things in a certain way, it’s about coming to a mutual understanding. To do that, though, you will need to determine where both of you agree, rather than focus on all the ways you disagree. Discuss which parts of your views are most important to each of you. After that, work on what you can agree on and what each of you are willing to compromise on, as opposed to trying to change everything about the other person’s view point. Be sure both parties are clear on their respective viewpoints.
Come Up with Ideas Together
Spitball ideas at each other. Your different perspectives will help you come up with ideas the other might not think of. No matter how you do things, you have to do them together. Listen to the other’s ideas, and don’t shoot everything down unreasonably.
Be Willing to Change Your Mind
Above all else, listen. Neither of you will be able to understand the other’s view if you both aren’t willing to listen. Be willing adjust each of your own views. If neither of you are willing (the key word here) to even consider slightly altering your view, then nothing will be accomplished. Once each of you have a better understanding of where the other person is coming from, adjusting each of your views might come naturally.