Over the years, I have heard a lot of lip-service given to the topic of compromising and meeting one another in the middle. I am in full agreement that there are times when we need, in our relationships, to both give a little and meet in the middle somewhere. Usually, to me, this seems to be in areas such as setting ground rules for the kids, how much money to allot for various things in the budget, how many times weekly/daily to be intimate, etc.
However, I do not feel that compromise is always the way to go. It seems to me that in any healthy and successful relationship there is a great deal of sacrifice. Usually more of this than compromise, actually.
The Lost Real Meaning of Love
The real definition of love seems to have become lost in this world of instant-gratification and 2 hour movie romances. Real love is not usually what is portrayed on the screen or in a book. So what is it then?
An early and great definition of what real love is may be found in the bible: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. It uses the word ‘charity’, but what is charity if not pure and selfless love?
Here is what the bible says about it:
“4-Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5-Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6-Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth;
7-Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
While no one is perfect, this does give a good illustration of how real love works. Nowhere in this example does it talk about compromise. . .only sacrifice. Real love does not consider one’s self, one’s pride, one’s wants. Real love considers the best interest and welfare of the other.
A Practical Example
A couple has a tiff. He has a pattern of saying and doing something that really hurt her feelings. When she expresses this to him, he blows it off and then explains to her that she is looking at it all wrong. He says what he said and did wasn’t a big deal, and basically she needs to get over it.
Just because something isn’t a big deal to one person, doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t have the right to view it or feel it as a big deal to them. People differing on how big of a deal something is, doesn’t mean one of them is right and one of them is wrong, or that one of them just needs to ‘get over it’. It is, in fact, an indicator of who they are as individuals, and they both need to find a healthy way to deal with that difference.
A Practical Solution
When someone tells you something you said or did hurt their feelings, a great and healthy response is to immediately apologize and stop saying or doing it. While you may view what you said and did as no big deal, and while you may not understand why they are feeling hurt about it or why they are viewing it as a big deal, the point is that it is a big deal to them and it does hurt them. In a healthy loving relationship, this should be sufficient motivation and reason to stop saying or doing it. Telling someone to not feel what they feel, or what they feel is wrong is, well, wrong. We are all entitled to feel what we feel, and there is no right or wrong about it. It is what it is. It is who we are.
In a relationship, it isn’t always about meeting in the middle. If you truly care about the other party, your first thoughts and actions should be about respecting them and loving them. Telling them to change who they are to suit you is not really loving them. It is putting yourself and your convenience first. Besides, if something isn’t really a big deal to you, and it is to them, there should be no problem in you giving up, or sacrificing, in some way for their sake, right?
I believe, when it comes to things that are inherently about who we are at our core, the word compromise should not be considered. I believe, that in addressing our differences, we need to think more in terms of sacrifice. We need to find it within ourselves to put what is best for the other person and what they need ahead of our own pride, our own wants, and our own convenience.
A Point to Ponder:
If you were with someone who always put you first; who’s primary concern was your well-being and happiness; who always ‘had your back’. . . how would you feel? If you saw them actively putting you first; if you saw them continually lovingly and selflessly giving to you. . . what would you do?
I am not talking about someone being a doormat or a wimp. I am talking about someone just truly and selflessly loving someone else.
Wouldn’t you feel naturally compelled, by these continuing acts of selfless love to reciprocate?
So, if you always put them first, and they always put you first, how many real problems do you think your relationship would actually have?
Obviously, this is an ideal; and as flawed individuals, we won’t reach any level of perfection in it, but what if we all ceaselessly tried to achieve, as closely as we can, this ideal?
I think we would put divorce lawyers, Dr Phil, and Dr Laura outta business! Seems like the frosting on the cake, to me.