I started this marriage series to give you a glimpse of my marriage and what does and doesn't work for us. I thought I'd start out with some really important lessons we learned when we went on our engaged encounter before we got married. I think they are life lessons that really helped our marriage.
Lesson 4 - Compromise and pick your battles
You are a partner it's not all about you any more. You have to think about how your actions are going to affect the other person. You don't have to walk on eggshells or anything, but you should want to take in your partners feelings before making big decisions. Like a job change, finances, or where to vacation. You have to think, if my partner did the same thing to me, how would that make me feel. Put yourself in their shoes and then re-evaluate, are you making the right decision.
Obviously the job change affects everyone involved, is the new job going to pay the same, less, more? What are the working hours, are you going to be gone longer then you currently are, is there a lot of travel? Those would need to be discussed.
Even something like finances needs to be discussed (a whole other post). But in short, if one is a spender and the other is a saver, agree on how your money is spent. We agreed early on in our marriage that if we were going to spend more then $100 we would let the other person know. That number has since sort of dissolved, and you'll learn why in my money post, so you'll have to come back for that one. =)
Even vacations need to be discussed. Where are you going, what do you want to do, what are your expectations? Everything takes a little compromise. I'm a let's go, go, go type of person, while Mr. is perfectly happy just doing one major thing a day and then resting or doing nothing. Again for another post, another day. But bottom line, compromise, everyone wants to have a good time and have a fun, relaxing vacation. So compromise with each other about what to do.
I think the big thing on compromise, at least for us, are the little things. For example:
I like to keep things out. If I'm working on a project and know that I'm going to work on it the next night I'll keep it out on the table. Mr. would put it away. He said that for the first few months of marriage he would be constantly putting things away for me. He would follow my little mouse trails and put stuff away. He eventually decided, you know what, it's not worth me doing it only for her to take it out the next night. He never really talked to me about it, but decided that it wasn't something that was worth fighting over. He knew this about me before getting married and can't expect me to change because of how he wants things. We are living together now and it's both of our space now. Now don't get me wrong, there are times when he goes into what I call "hurricane" mode where everything gets swept up and put somewhere (not always in a place I want). When that happens I try to scurry in front of him and limit the damage on how much gets put into a place where I'll never see it again. Like I said, I know he does eventually have a breaking point, so I try to clean stuff up before he hits that point. That or have people over to the house so it forces me to clean up :) No my house isn't always this spotless clean, hehe, have you fooled huh?
Really decide how much of a big deal it is. Is it worth a fight or argument? And what do you expect to get out of it? You shouldn't just start yelling about how you hate x and then not have a solution or somewhere to start. It can't always be your way or the highway, both people have to give a little. Once you figure this out and figure out how it works within your marriage you are going to be much happier. If something really upsets you, i.e. leaving socks on the ground, tell your partner that. Let him/her know that it really bothers you and ask if he/she can make more of an effort to put them in the hamper when done with them. (For the record this has not happened to me). It's not fair to the other person to expect them to change who they are, you knew who you married when you said "I Do", so compromise and you'll have a much happier marriage.
What are your thoughts on the subject?