Some years ago, my beloved and I were involved in organising and chairing marriage preparation courses. One of the sessions was on managing and resolving conflict – and again and again, with group after group, we found real resistance to the term ‘compromise’. Compromise, according to some of the people on the course, meant nobody got what they wanted. And what was the point of that?
The underpinning concept that was conflict meant winners and losers. But in a marriage, it isn’t possible to have winners and losers. If either partner finishes the conflict unhappy with the resolution, both partners lose. Marriage is about two people becoming one; not about one person absorbing the other, but about each completing the other; making them better than they would be alone. Conflict in marriage is – or should be – simply a means for reaching an agreement that is good for both partners and for the marriage as a whole.
Simcha Fisher – in a post on the value of persistence in building strong, enduring relationships – says:
And they make our lives, day by day, more united so that my problems are his problems, and his problems are mine: there is no such thing as being happy because I get what I want, even if it makes him unhappy; and vice versa.
Compromise in marriage is the art of finding what will make us both happy, and it works because it gives us what we both want – the happiness of our beloved.