The Art of Compromise in a Relationship

tandem bikeI don't like movies. Never have. I think I'm scarred from my childhood of being forced to sit through obscure French films in which each character was less interesting than the one before.

Kids, see, they need to understand subtlety to appreciate obscure foreign films. Kids, well, they don't understand subtlety. There's a REASON those Happy Feet movies are so popular -- you don't have to guess at the emotions of the characters, they just ARE. Plus, you don't have to read those tiny words at the bottom of the screen.

My husband, however, he likes movies. A lot. His parents didn't force him to sit through four hours of Das Boot when he was a tot. So when it comes to movie time, we hit an impasse.

This is where the art of compromise works.


I'm not rabidly opposed to movies -- I'd just rather be doing anything else, like watching paint dry or grass grow. My problem with movies, though, isn't his problem.

So I make a compromise. A good one. A good compromise, see, is one that allows me to make him happy without making me miserable. A couple times a year, I sit down and watch a movie with him. If he wants to watch something I'd rather gnaw my fingers than see, I'll send him to the bigger, better basement television to watch it alone.

I don't gripe about it, I don't moan about it, I just let him do his thing while I do mine. When we're done, we both feel refreshed and happy.

It's the same thing he does for me every time he goes to the doctor for his yearly checkups. I'm a nurse, see, and when I met him, he hadn't been to see a doctor (unless his arm was falling off) regularly in years. Now, he makes his yearly checkups like clockwork. In fact, if I am late scheduling mine (which reminds me ...), he nags me until I do.

That's because this sort of compromise allows the both of us to grow into the best versions of ourselves. He's never once told me to "cut my hair" or "get up earlier" (things I've heard from my not-so-good boyfriends in the past) because those are things that don't matter to him. But they do matter to me.

Just like those movies matter to him.

So he goes to his movies, and his doctor appointments, I do the laundry while he goes to work each day. He accepts that I'm a night owl, and I accept that he's an early bird. We're different, but we meet on the same playing field.

All because we've learned the gentle art of compromise.

How do YOU compromise in a relationship?


Image via Ken_Mayer/Flickr

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