Compromise is absolutely key to a marriage. You will never find someone who is so absolutely in sync with you that you will not, at some point, have to submit to your partner’s will. But I’m increasingly finding that the only “right” compromise seems to be my compromise.
The definition of compromise involves concessions being made by both parties; however, if one party is always doing the compromising surely that’s a dictatorship. We have differing opinions on the intricacies of raising of our children, but share the same views on the bigger picture issues: discipline, manners, education and our roles as parents for example. Where we often come to conflict are things such as reaction to mess created during meal times, the level of hair neatness prior to school and the kids’ eagerness to assist in absolutely everything we want to do.
I’m very relaxed when it comes to children being children, this doesn’t mean I’m absolutely comfortable with it, but I accept that a 2 year old eating a yoghurt or cereal by himself is going to create some mess; likewise, when they see us washing up or cooking, they really want to get involved and join in by helping us, even though it often ends up in more mess and a much more difficult task than originally perceived, but it is in our reactions to these that make me and my wife clash. I really don’t mind if my 5 year old daughter goes to school with slightly fluffy hair because we have been playing games before she catches her bus, because I don’t think she should be so preconceived with image issues at that age. There will be plenty of opportunity for insecurity later on in her teenage years, but as my wife sees it as a big issue and gets cross at having to redo my daughter’s hair, I feel obliged to say that we cannot play because it will make her mother cross.
When my son sees me washing up or cooking, he grabs the stool in the kitchen and drags it along the floor so that he can get up to my level and help me, which I am happy to do, but the sound of him dragging the stool on the floor really gets to my wife, like nails down a chalkboard. It doesn’t bother me, so again I feel obliged to tell him not to do it because his mummy doesn’t like it.
There are many more examples, but I will stop there as I think you get the idea. But here lies my mistake, as my wife keeps telling me, I am constantly making her the bad guy by telling the kids they can’t do something because mummy doesn’t like it. She wants me to be on the same page as her and support her by saying we, or I don’t like it. But here lies the crux of the issue, in all aspects of these circumstances, she wants me to compromise to her will. At no point does she consider compromising to accommodate my apathy of these circumstances. So my question is, at what point does she have to lower her expectations to meet my preferences, or do I have to always bend to hers?
While these seem like trivial issues, they are simply evidence of a bigger issue that whenever someone in the relationship has to compromise using the alternative definition of the expedient acceptance of standards other than those that are desirable, it always falls on my shoulders to subside. It seems that the key to a happy relationship is to always give the woman what she wants and then be happy that you have done so. If for any reason the woman does compromise, it is then used in evidence for years to come in any given future scenario she chooses in order to secure her way.