How Much to Compromise in a Marriage Before It Is Too Much?
Compromise in a marriage is indispensable, and many self-help books and wisdom from pieces of relationship advice reiterate this. Marriage, after all, is the union of two unique individuals with different personalities, habits, tastes, preferences, and values. That is why for marriage to work, partners must be willing to find the middle ground.
What Exactly Does Comprise in a Marriage Mean?
The Cambridge dictionary defines compromise as an agreement between two parties with different opinions and each party gives up something that it originally desired. It is a means of settling disputes and harmonizing differences wherein two sides concede to accept less than what they want.
Compromise in a marriage is being okay with cream wallpaper despite planning to get yellow but your partner wants plain white. It is manifested in agreeing to have two children even if you wanted only one because your partner wants three. So many things in marriage are solved through compromise. In fact, nearly every marital decision involves compromise; otherwise, things can get ugly pretty fast. If you or your partner insists to have things your way all the time, your marriage is bound to go down the drain without any chance of saving. Although compromise is healthy, it must not be confused with sacrifice.
Marriage Compromise versus Marriage Sacrifice
Compromise involves reciprocity, teamwork, and sacrifice with partner. Both parties decide to give up something to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. On the other hand, sacrifice is unilateral. It involves submission and sacrifice for a partner. Unlike compromise, sacrifice entails completely giving up something just to appease another person. Marriage sacrifice here and there is alright, but sacrificing too much is one way of how marriage can bring unhappiness to you.
Since compromising with a partner makes you surrender something, it has the effect of making you give up a piece of your satisfaction, a portion of your happiness, and a part of who you are. In this way, comprise is dangerous. It can impact you negatively, especially when it lacks reciprocity, occurs frequently, or involves vital aspects of life (e.g. career, residence, goals). By sacrificing too much, you could lose your identity and self-worth. Studies in social psychology revealed that sacrificing out of love for a partner makes a person feel good. However, the level of marital satisfaction decreases when it occurs regularly. Consequently, the relationship may deteriorate because partners may develop animosity and reduced tolerance for one another.
How to Know the Boundary of Marriage Compromise?
Marriage is possibly the trickiest relationship to succeed in. People around you will say conflicting opinions. There are people who believe that sacrifice is the ultimate proof of true love, that the ability to prioritize another’s interest over your own is the purest form of commitment. Yes, it holds some truth in it. But remember that a relationship is always a two-way endeavor. You enter a committed relationship because it nurtures you and not because it deprives you.
If you see yourself the one consistently compromising your needs and desires, then you are among the relationship martyrs. And that is an obvious indication that you are treading the boundary of compromise and sacrifice. You compromise in a marriage to preserve the relationship and to keep the peace. Despite that, you must still hear your voice and preserve your self-identity. Mutual respect must govern in every decision-making.
Compromising and Divorce
What if you realize that you have been compromising a lot to the point that you no longer recognize your self-worth? What if you no longer see yourself in a sustainable marriage? What if you feel that you are the only one who is sacrificing? These are common marriage questions that eventually lead to divorce questions. If you do find yourself contemplating on similar questions, maybe it means you have reached your end of the rope. Nothing is wrong with that because at the end of the day, your self-worth matters.