Over the years, Joe has always been more interested in adding a dog to the family, especially for our kids’ sake, but for me the answer was always a big NO WAY NOT EVER. I’ve served my time potty training and cleaning up accidents and chasing little creatures with attitude.
Whenever our boys brought the topic up, Joe would say, “That’s up to your mom.” He was considering my wishes higher than his. He knew if I wasn’t up for it, it would be a no-go no matter how much they all begged. Joe would often say, Your mom doesn’t want one. End of story.
We disagreed. Pet, no pet? What kind of pet? Like many other things in our life, we don’t always want the same things.
Then it must have been our boys praying desperately for me.
Because God changed my heart on a dime, and it was clear as day, that now was the time. My turn to compromise. The boys were ready. I was ready. (I really wasn’t ready, but I was willing to become ready!) My heart turned to considering Joe’s wishes. So all the boys were totally in shock when Joe told them I said yes of my own free will.
God calls us to look to the interests of others.
We’re called to lay down our lives for a friends. Over and over, this command to love others as we love ourselves.
Compromise can sound like a bad word and in other contexts, compromising can truly be unhealthy. Joe and I feel very strongly about not compromising our standards, our convictions, our commitment to God and to each other. No compromise there.
But our preferences? Interests? The way we like to do things? Yeah, those are the places where we’re called to compromise.
Compromise is difficult but essential.
What I love about our marriage is that we truly try to take turns compromising. And that isn’t because we’re both so unselfish. Ha! It’s because we’re very different people with different opinions and desires. We disagree on our preferences a lot so compromise is essential. We know if we don’t approach situations with an attitude of compromise, it’s guaranteed that we’ll both end up unhappy and our marriage will be worse off.
Look for the ways your spouse has compromised for you.
It’s easy to choose not to see it. I often make my frame of reference myself and assume that of course, I always compromise for you. But if I let God search my heart, He shows me that it’s my pride saying, I’m doing it better than you. When I open my eyes, I can see the multitude of ways that Joe had compromised his wishes for me.
It’s not that we keep score, but I’m trying to be aware and grateful if my husband is sacrificing his wishes for me. Then that drives me to make the same sacrifice for his happiness. I think that’s the spirit of the verse in Ephesians 5 that talks about “mutual submission”. In tandem, we each defer to each other’s needs and wants. In that giving and bending to the other that our marriage grows.
In the end, it’s old-fashioned taking turns and not demanding our own way every time. Instead of expecting that my husband submit to my wishes, I look for ways to do it the way he wants. Even if it doesn’t make sense to me. And that continual service brings us more joy than if we stay focused only on ourselves.
What is one way you can compromise what you want that would make your husband or wife incredibly happy?
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phillipians 2:4