What does it mean to compromise? Basically it means accepting standards lower than are desirable to you. I can hear you now, “why should I settle for less that I want or need?” You do it because that is marriage.
Marriage is about teamwork and if you’ve ever worked with a team you are aware of the fact that you put what is best for the team above your own desires.
That is the benefit of compromise in marriage. It puts the welfare of the marriage before anything else. Both spouses have to be willing to be self-sacrificing for marriage to succeed.
He wants her to stop nagging:
Being honest about the problem is the best strategy for making compromises that may eventually strengthen the relationship rather than make it worse. Many couples fear telling each other what is really in their heart for fear of hurting the other person.
For example, the guy finally owns up that his wife nagging him way too much and he would like some positive, even complimentary comments now and then instead of her constantly taking a negative inventory of him and his faults. With this kind of criticism from his loved one, he eventually starts thinking her complaining means she doesn’t like him at all, and he begins to withdraw. If he were to tell her directly, “I want to be close to you, but half the time you seem to be upset with me, so I feel kind of distant with your barbs about my appearance.”
In turn, she listens to him, attempts to see the situation from his perspective and puts effort into focusing on his positive traits.
She wants more affection:
Her nagging could be a smokescreen for what she feels is his lack of attention or affection. She may be crying out for love, which often looks like complaining. In reality, she may have a problem telling her husband the truth.
She may be wanting to come out with a statement like, “I need more touching and cuddling”, or “I want you to sit and watch a movie with me”. By gathering courage to talk about it directly, she will have to be very specific. Her guy may think a need for affection is an invitation to intercourse. Of course that may happen, but she wants him to hear what she is asking for. She wants time alone with him, with some warm, affectionate interaction. In her mind it is simple, in his mind she is a nag and he is tired of hearing nothing but nagging.
She realizes that she has been going about asking for it in very obtuse and foggy ways. Complaining about his aftershave or dirty jeans is not asking for more attention, but because she is feeling unloved, she may unconsciously be handing out a “get back at you” for the lack of attention.
To start the dialogue and work towards compromise, she might open the conversation with, “I know I have been a little cranky lately, and I have discovered what I really want is you and me time. I would like to have a home date with you, snuggling on the couch. I promise if you can spare the time, I will watch my nagging and make you dinner tomorrow night. How does that sound to you?”
Such a conversation gives him a clear picture of what she wants. In turn that gives him more of an opportunity to give her what she wants. It’s a win/win proposition. He gets cuddles, he doesn’t have to listen to nagging.
Even if only one of the couple is willing to compromise, the strategies for honesty outlined above can streamline the round-about way that many couples choose due to a fear of rejection. Couples who adopt an attitude of compromise will look for ways to please one another and make little adjustments to their own behavior. It’s hard to hug a thorn bush, for sure. It’s also hard to pin down a moving object.
Those who focus on building a closer relationship and accepting the fact that their partner isn’t and will never be perfect have a better chance of making the relationship work.
One woman I know said, “Before we got together as a couple I decided to write down things about him that I loved. I also let myself make a list of things I didn’t like. I intentionally made myself forget half the list of the don’t likes, and it has really helped me to love him with a bigger heart!
Life as a couple isn’t easy. It takes intentional thought to focus on the reasons you loved that person in the first place and try not to sweat the small stuff. By putting some energy into the compromise phase of your relationship, you will have a smoother ride for the long run.