Love’s sacrifices require thoughtful balance

by Kristen MacBride

MCT Campus
MCT Campus

The importance of compromise is introduced to many people early in life. First encounters are probably similar to scenes in the car with toddlers screaming, crying and kicking the back of their parents’ seats because they didn’t give in and buy that candy bar at the checkout aisle.

But now, as an adult, though probably not throwing 5-year-old-style tantrums every time something isn’t perfect, dealing with compromise has become more complicated. And the one arena where compromise is unavoidable and sure to cause tension is romantic relationships.

In a perfect world of normal relationship disagreements, compromise is a healthy way to communicate so each person can come to a mutual, satisfying agreement with no feelings of hostility. However, striking a balance and mastering the art of compromise can be tricky and sometimes involve some bitter and uneasy exchanges.

Being in a relationship, it is assumed there are going to be some sacrifices, but knowing when to give in and how much is too much is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship.

To effectively compromise, it’s important to determine if the subject being compromised on is something superficial or something important. If something superfluous is causing a significant other distress, it may be worth sacrificing. But be careful not to sacrifice too much for the sake of avoiding conflict.

Oftentimes, couples compromise on issues, no matter how important they may be, to make things easier and hopefully prevent the conflict from becoming an ongoing problem. Sometimes it just seems easier to give in than endure vicious bickering and stubborn battling about the same exhausting issue. Although it may be a quick and easy solution for peace, this only builds resentment and a one-sided relationship.

Ongoing sacrifice of the things personally most important, such as time with friends, family or a favorite activity is not compromise necessary in a relationship. It’s compromising self-happiness to oblige another’s wishes.

With that said, it is equally unhealthy and stubborn to selfishly cling to every desire and shun anything that doesn’t spark immediate interest. It’s when feeling like everything should be a certain way and reducing communication to tantrum tactics that compromise is in order.

It’s these superficial things that, once lost, do not detract from quality of life and happiness, that are important to compromise on. Although they may be just as hard to budge on — yes, she must shop and yes, he must play “Call of Duty” — not doing so will also lead relationships to stagnation and constant bickering. Having an open mind and welcoming compromise on the more insignificant issues may seem difficult, but in the end will make for a more understanding relationship with room to grow.