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The act of compromising in a marriage is difficult, but not impossible. A marriage is not one-sided. Marriage is a strong bond between two loving people who make mutual decisions. People fear compromising will only jeopardize who they are as a person. They believe they can no longer make decisions for themselves. That is not necessarily true. If you agree with your spouse all the time without voicing your opinions and without working as a team, then there could be a risk of losing one's identity. However, compromise is meeting your spouse halfway. There are times in which putting your needs and wants aside will be expected of you. You do not want to seem selfish. You want your spouse and children to experience some of their needs and wants, as well.
Being married to an older man taught me a valuable lesson about compromise. He was firm on his set ways and I was firm on mine. At first, we bumped heads on a couple of matters due to our age difference. But we soon realized – when we decided to pull back a little from our set ways – how simple it was to make final decisions that made us equally happy.
As intimidating as compromising may sound, it is important to do so for a successful marriage and family.
- Never assume — communication is a must. Oftentimes, you allow your spouse to make all the decisions even when you are against them. You are afraid of hurting his feelings or afraid to share your comments. You must set those fears aside and speak. Do not assume he knows what you are feeling or thinking. You must politely and maturely express your thoughts. For example, your spouse is ready to start a family, but you are not. In this case, you need more time. Instead of leading him on that you, too, want a family right away, kindly tell him how you truly feel. Another example is your spouse earned a promotion at work, but that promotion is in another state. You are happy for your spouse, but are you ready to uproot everything you have established for yourself? The longer you wait to tell your spouse how you feel about situations, the more difficult it will become as time passes. Communication will lead you and your spouse to make positive decisions together.
- Consider all options. When a situation arises which requires thorough consideration, sit down with your spouse. Lay out all of your pros and cons and discuss them in details. For example, if you and your spouse plan on moving out-of-state and you have children, as a team you must figure out where they will attend school. Are the kids old enough to express their concerns about moving to a strange place with no friends or family members? What appears to be a good idea to you may not necessarily seem good to your spouse and children.
- Be consistent with your decisions. Once you and your spouse make the final decision, do not go back on your word, especially when it comes to your children. Revisiting the same situation over and over only show signs of inconsistencies. Avoid those signs in front of your children. They need to know their parents have things under control and are on the same page.
Compromising does not mean one person is right or wrong. It only means you and your spouse are meeting somewhere in the middle for the well-being of your marriage and your family. Here are some more ways to negotiate within a marriage.