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Compromising In Marriage: Is it Worth Losing Yourself?

February 06, 2020

Compromising In Marriage: Is it Worth Losing Yourself?

Written by: Topper Marie


Every woman has "wants" and needs in life. Many of us do not know how to achieve them or feel guilty for doing something for ourselves. These wants can be life dreams or simple things you want to accomplish or incorporate in your everyday life. I want to start a business, I want a happy marriage, I want a happy life, I want to feel complete, I want to let go of my guilt. These are "wants" that many of us have. Buddha says, “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” For me, the one word that brings peace is the word complete. I want to feel complete. Do not let a feeling of hopelessness and feeling lost take over your life and make you feel as though you are moving through the motions.

The other day, I attended a local support group meeting for women. There was a woman at the meeting who struck me as someone who needed help. That feeling of hopelessness had taken over her. With witnessing the hopelessness, expressed through hidden tears and anxiety, it made me reflect on who and what I want with life and how compromise has changed my marriage and relationship. It posed many questions in my mind and spirit. Many women feel these bouts of unhappiness, depression or even sadness throughout their day, week or month. I pose the question to you, why do you let other people, not even just why, how do you let other people influence the feelings of your day, week, month, year or life? Personally, my influences are set from the moment I open my eyes in the morning. So why do we focus on the negative ones? Is it possible to adjust your mindset to focus on the positive?

Why and how can I work on my goals and wants without having constant doubt of myself? Every day you look at social media to see many women who tout themselves as being successful, unstoppable and amazing…AND of course, for a small fee, you can become a woman just like them. Do those women have bad days? Do they look at themselves in the mirror and are unsure of who they are? I am sure they are not perfect, but maybe that is where self-confidence comes from. Your own influences, how you project to yourself. How do you believe in yourself? Or does self-confidence actually come from the influence of others? Their words and actions toward you inflict a feeling of what and who you should be? Do you say fuck it and really build confidence within yourself and not look towards others for approval and happiness?

So one big question is: Focusing on my needs and wants, does that make me selfish? I have heard many times over self-care is not selfish. But what if you live with someone who makes you feel as if it is? How do you overcome these obstacles? Do you run? Is that the responsible thing to do for yourself? I think to start with these questions can open a can of worms, so I decided to start with one. Is compromising in a marriage a positive influence on the relationship and your own self-worth?

As I was watching a movie the other day, the main actress said that marriage is a compromise. That when you have one down, there are 2.99 million to go. I’ve heard this many times over in articles about marriage, books and even from friends. Do you compromise who you are for the greater good of your partnership, marriage or relationship? I personally do not think that compromise allows you to grow. Growth is important. Are you compromising in your relationship, enough to make you feel lost? Is this real for you? For me, compromising myself is not the feeling that makes me feel whole. Women have a tendency to compromise themselves and what they want for the greater of their relationship or marriage. However, men mostly, do not.

There was an interesting article I read from by Alison A. Armstrong, “Why You Shouldn't Compromise in Your Marriage—And What to Do Instead.” Alison Armstrong is a relationship expert, a freelance writer, nationally known educator, and expert on understanding men. She talks about a workshop she put on in New York where she spoke to a group of men about compromise in relationships and marriage. The definition of compromise is an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions, to settle a dispute by mutual concession or to accept standards that are lower than is desirable. After her workshop, she realized that most men in the group did not and did not want to compromise in their relationship. This allowed her to create what she calls her version of “deal-making.” Now I love the thought process behind this “deal-making” because it allows you to voice your opinion while intently listening to your partners' opinions as well. It may clear up some miscommunications you have in your relationship or make you aware of some issues you didn’t know where bothering your partner.

She does note that before you begin this process you must list five to seven values that are important to you in your relationship. After, compare your values with your partner to see the similarities. After, you can create a list of values for your relationship. These values can include, freedom, alone time, spending quality time together, respect, truthfulness, and anything you find important in a relationship. After you have compared and created a list for your relationship, you can start to work on the deal-making. Now the topic of deal-making can be concerning things that you know cause strife in your relationship or on your mind. For example, it can be how many times a week you have sex, who is responsible to cook dinner and when, who is responsible for paying the bills and looking after finances, or who is responsible for the kid’s bedtime routine and what it should be. This process will make each partner feel as if they did not give up something important to them, but yet they can actually work toward something close together and reasonable for both parties involved. She mentions the person who has the most passion behind the topic should speak first. The sentence should start as such, “If I had it my way…” She states that this verbiage is important because it allows you to actually speak from your heart and bring your desires forward. During this expression, the other person should listen to intently and with patience. After you listen, you can then ask the question, “What would having it your way provide?” One important part of this is not to interject or try to problem solve the issue just listen. After you will get your turn to speak. Once you have both gone over your “ways” of having it done, she says it makes it easier to see a solution and you can find the win-win for both of you. Now, I have tried this in my relationship with my husband, after reading the book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Last” by Gary Chapman, a book recommended by our marriage counselor. My husband and I found relief on some of the topics that we didn’t realize where causing both of us grief in our relationship. For example, my husband felt as if I did not take the time to welcome him home after work. He felt as if his coming home was not important to me. He told me he liked it when I opened the front door for him before he got out of the car to welcome him with a hug and kiss. Now, to me, this was insignificant, but to him, it changed his mood completely. So now, knowing what is important to him I started to do this for him and our relationship. It has drastically changed his attitude when he comes home. For me, I mentioned to him, that I did not like it when I called him at work, that he never said I love you when we hung up the phone. For me an expression of our love is important. He never knew that this was something that caused me pain. Once I voiced my opinion it made it that much better, I felt relief. Before I had mentioned it to him, I was compromising my needs while he was at work. I didn’t want him to have to feel as if he was being unprofessional saying I love you in front of his colleagues.

There are some compromises that I have made in my marriage that made me feel disappointed, but I have decided to change that. For me, I started to lose what I wanted by always tending to what I thought were the needs of my husband. For example, I have put off getting my yoga license because I felt it was inconvenient for my husband or would take away from our time together. It would be on the weekend, the only time I know he is off of work, and when we are supposed to be spending time together. But now I have decided that I will do it. I am not going to compromise my own personal growth for my relationship. When you grow in a relationship individually it makes you realize happiness is achievable. After I made the decision not to compromise my happiness because of what he might think I had this feeling of happiness wash over me. Individual happiness is the key to a happy relationship. If you feel that you are constantly compromising and giving up parts of yourself, change it. Sit with your partner and discuss the values of your relationship and what is important to both of you. You do not want to hold resentment against your partner that can make you feel incomplete or unhappy.

Marriage is a choice. Compromising who you are is not a part of the relationship. Just think back to when you were single, if you were in a relationship with someone who asked you to quit something you love, you would break up with them. Marriage is no different. Just because you are married does not mean you need to lose who you are as individuals. Start by writing a list of what is important to you, what you love and who you are. Then share that with your partner.

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. Words of wisdom from Buddha that hopefully will give you the strength to regain your truth in yourself and your relationship.

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