Marriage Myth #1: Marriage is about COMPROMISE.
This is probably one of the most common phrases I here from the couples that come in for marriage counseling – “Now, I know marriage is built on compromise, but…..” Can you hear the resentment brewing in that statement? It is funny to me that the term “compromise” is only used with a positive connotation when we are talking about marriage. Would a soldier want to be in war with someone who is known for compromising their position? If you operate heavy machinery for a living, would you want to work with equipment that has been compromised? If you work in the business world, would you want to be in business with someone who tends to compromise their ethics?
Would want to be a part of a church where the leadership isn’t beyond compromising Scripture, or their integrity, for the "greater good?" I think for most of us, we’d answer those questions with a resounding “No! Absolutely NOT!” So, why is it all of sudden a good thing for married couples to do?
In a marriage, I think there are times when we need to make adjustments, accommodations, or even sacrifices. But, doing these things ONLY becomes a compromise when you find yourself doing it for the wrong reason. And the most common wrong reason I hear is “I’m doing it for my spouse.” You might be able to see how this mentality can breed anger, resentment, and even contempt for the spouse. You might find yourself saying to your spouse, “Remember when I did (fill in the blank) for you? Can you do this one little thing for me?” This presents a lose-lose situation because if you don’t do that one little thing, the seeds of anger and resentment toward you are being watered, but if you comply with the request, seeds of anger and resentment against your spouse are being planted in you because what you thought was an act of service was actually a favor that was expected to be returned, but only when your spouse saw fit.
My encouragement is that your motive for whatever accommodation or sacrifice you make be based on what you perceive to be the RIGHT THING to do. When you do this, if you later regret the decision or wish you had of done it differently, you can’t point the finger at anyone else but yourself. Making accommodations under this mentality is not a compromise; it is simply trying do what is right by yourself, your family, and other important relationships in your life. In a nutshell, relational compromise simply implies that you do something you don’t really want to do, but you do it anyway because the one you love wants you to.
Marriage is tough; and sometimes, knowing what the right thing to do is not as easy as it seems. If you are feeling emotions like resentment and anger brewing within you toward your spouse, then there is a possibility that you have been compromising. My encouragement to you is to reach out for help before those weeds spread and cover what was supposed to be a beautiful garden.