Anyone who has been married longer than about 20 minutes understands that if your spouse is not happy, you will not be happy either. In other words, you wouldn’t eat Italian food if you didn’t like it. Well, if your spouse hates Italian, you are going to end up hating it just as much they do. Not the food, the company.
If you compromise every issue, then at least half the time you are going to do things you hate, let alone being with someone who hates the other half. Once you get this simple formula you will realize how absolutely fruitless it is to do something that makes your spouse sad or unhappy.
You may think you are used to it, but one day, just like a mud slide, all of a sudden it’s just too much weight, and it gives way. If either of you are unhappy, eventually you both will be.
This shows up in other areas as well. It’s not unheard of for a spouse to berate the other for something they did or didn’t do. Whether you are mad that the light bulbs don’t get changed, or receiving the anger for not changing them quickly enough, either one just adds to the pain, and one day it becomes too much.
I wish I had a Maserati for every husband or wife who called me up for counseling and started telling me, “I didn’t realize my spouse was so unhappy….” The truth is the other spouse didn’t realize how unhappy they were either. We get used to putting up with bad restaurants or light bulbs that never get changed, plus a whole host of other annoying issues. Then one day we wake up and we remember why we got married, and this isn’t it.
It starts very simply, one little compromise saves a whole bunch of arguments. Unfortunately though it becomes a dangerous life-style in how you deal with conflict.
But there is a great way to avoid these terrible pitfalls and redeem your marriage.
The secret to avoid compromise is to find the third alternative. That’s the restaurant that you both love.
It’s ultimately counter productive to make your spouse unhappy so that you get your way. In the long run what you gain through nagging or screaming is lost in resentment and bitterness. The secret is to make each other happy so each will be glad to help. This is not the easier path, it’s much easier to simply compromise, that’s why people do it. It’s just the happier path, which is hopefully the path you will be on for a very long time.