Marriage Excellence: Compromise


Every great relationship is based on compromise. One of my favorite examples of compromise is from one of my sisters. She wanted to live on the east coast. He wanted to live in Utah. They compromised and they live in Idaho.
and that is what compromise is all about- if you are both miserable at least you have something in common, right?
Husband and I have compromised a lot in life. I like to think of a few examples from recent history. I really wanted a barbecue- a great big shiny one with multiple burners and a smoking rack. Do I want a gas one? Maybe. I tell John. We compromised. We spend 8 dollars on a beautiful little unit at Target. The green one was a little prettier but it was 11 dollars. The disadvantage of this table beauty? If you put the cover on the coals go out.

Our other wonderful recent compromise involved getting a new car. Last summer he was going to work in a different state all week so we decided maybe we needed two cars. I wanted a mini van or SUV. I know I can fit my family in a smaller car but sometimes I want to be able to go somewhere with my friends with children and drive. It is nice to be able to drive and not take a separate car. In my husband's family it seems like once you have three children you have "earned" a larger car. At that time I had one child and was pregnant. Clearly, I wasn't meeting the quota. But someday I would have a bigger car.
We compromised and got a Prius. He tells me that we talked about it beforehand. This is how our conversations went.
Me: I want a big car. Maybe mini-van. I hear the Honda Odyssey is Good.
Him: I want a Prius.
Me: What about an SUV?
Him: I called about a Prius.
Me: A highlander?
Him: As long as it is as new as you want and costs as much as a Prius.
Me: How did you come up with this budget number?
Him: what about an electric car?
Me: I want a leather interior.
Him: I called about test driving a Prius.
We bought that Prius. No leather interior. My car stopped working shortly after that. John fixed it himself but it still didn't work reliably almost a year later. and the AC doesn't work.
The Prius is mine now.
Now that is real marital compromise. Even though I didn't want it I am taking it.

Some of the things that help us with our excellent compromises are these: What is the cheapest? That is probably going to win so don't even worry about it.
If that cheapest option fails then you can work up to what you would really want. But first you should spend a long time trying to make that cheaper option work. For example the 8 dollar grill doesn't actually work but John plans to drill some holes in the top so it doesn't extinguish. I am thinking about buying another broiler pan since when the grill goes out we broil things in the oven. Our subaru may have a non functioning alternator but if you only drive it a short distance in the winter that's OK- or after 8 or nine months of making that work you can take it in.

THE JOHN and Janae marriage program advocates keeping a Compromise Journal- draw a line down the middle of a regular journal and put one name in each column. When you feel like you have compromised in favor of your spouse write it in the journal on their name. For example if you hate the ugly man couch your husband got you at DI when you said you wanted a couch you can write it in his column. If you wanted to save 100 dollars a month for each child and it happens you can write it in your column.
The compromise tracker can help with lots of things. Maybe you didn't realize you were making a compromise- maybe you didn't really want that kitchen table so you won't get it, thus getting a costly tally. Or maybe you will have a day of evening the scores.

I am still waiting for that day. John hasn't been keeping score so I am way ahead.
I can't be responsible for his log entries after all...

What is your favorite compromise?

"It's for fun..." (August 9, 2010 at 3:44 PM)  

This post was eye opening. I'm not very good at compromising! My poor hubby. I compromise on things like what to have for dinner - not a new car (as you know...). I guess I need to be a little nicer to my husband! or maybe more compromises will come with a new baby...we'll see. I'll let you know.

ps- drill those holes in the BBQ NOW so that you can see if that helps!!!

Jennifer (August 10, 2010 at 10:32 PM)  

Um - doesn't the BBQ have a vent at the top under the handle that rotates open and closed?

If you drill holes in the bottom, the ashes fall out. I know this b/c our grill has a sliding vent in the bottom too, and there are now a large pile of ashes in the driveway, since it took us awhile to figure it out...

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