Social Question

sensin's avatar

Are compromises in marriage an indication of a bad marriage?

Asked by sensin (243points) May 7th, 2014

If a situation in marriage calls for a compromise, it indicates to me that either the wife or husband or both were not paying attention to the content of each others conversations when they were dating, or one of them or both were lying to each other.

The idea behind a date is to get to know each other. If you say you’re a health nut and you want a family that lives an organic lifestyle, then you’re expected to act accordingly. If you present yourself on dates as a thin, fit, well groomed, nicely dressed individual, then you’re expected to remain the same.

The only reason you have to compromise (if you want to) is because instead of being a health nut, your spouse ends up eating and feeding your kids junk food instead of organic, and instead of remaining thin, fit, your spouse is fat. Your spouse said she or he wants the kids home-schooled, but in marriage, he or she wants them sent to public school.

In my opinion, if you’re in a situation where there needs to be a compromise, you’re basically a victim of fraud. The marriage is a sham and was built on a dishonest foundation. Compromising will only make you more depressed.


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37 Answers

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I think you are a tiny bit absolute here. As far as I am concerned compromise is a healthy factor in any relationship/communication. Of course depending on the occasion and case ,it would be expected of both sides to compromise. Since life is not only black and white, people do change, situations are fluid, many times compromise is essential. As long as not every decision is based on it and if there is proper communication, I really don’t think of it as a drawback. If one side is the one ALWAYS compromising, then yes, there is a problem. If through compromise some positive result/understanding is reached whereby future issues will be easier to deal with, then I guess it was a successful step.

Judi's avatar

I hope you never get married. That attitude is a recipe for failure! Compromise is essential for success. You can’t negotiate everything prior to marriage and unless you are in a vegetative state you will grow and learn, become wiser and realize that maybe some of your previous expectations might have been immature or unrealistic. I can’t think of anyone (except maybe you) who would want to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t capable of learning and growing and admitting that some of their old ideas were wrong.

ucme's avatar

On the contrary, people change, relationships evolve, compromise is key.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Matrimony’s middle name is Compromise.

JLeslie's avatar

I think too much compromise means no one is getting what they really want and I think that is a recipe for unhappiness and regret. However, you are talking about dating, so I am going to say that when first married there should not be any huge surprises, because you just were dating one minute ago. There should have been some minimal discussion about children, although really I don’t know anyone who knew in advance how a baby would affect their marriage. There will be some surprises, people even surprise themselves let alone their spouse in how they cope and react to major life changes.

Over time people change, and to think 30 years into a marriage a couple might not be on the exact same page with what they want to do in life and how they think about life is unrealistic. Goals change, people grow, they learn, they change philosophical points of view and in a marriage each partner should help the other attain their own personal goals and then there also is a goal for the relationship as a unit.

Sometimes it is not compromise, sometimes it is both people getting what they want, but they are not doing it together. That can be ok too. Individual time to pursue ones own goals.

jerv's avatar

The alternatives are to clone yourself to get a person identical to you (then argue over which of you gets the sex change if you’re heterosexual), or remain single.

That said, compromise is a balance where people meet in the middle. When it’s all-or-nothing, my way or the highway, that’s a sign of weakness. That which cannot bend will shatter into unsalvageable, unusable shards at the first sign of strain.

ragingloli's avatar

There is no perfect match.
There is no person, whose beliefs, views, desires and habits match yours 100%.
Compromise is therefore a sign of a good marriage.
In fact, if there was no compromise, one party would impose its views on the other with no regard for their opinion or feeling. That would be a sign of a bad marriage.

hominid's avatar

^ This. Also, are you proposing that people are static? If I’m the same person I was yesterday, I’m doing it wrong. I don’t want my wife to hold me to a promise of the conceptual “me” that existed 13 years ago when we got married. We both change as individuals – and therefore the marriage needs to be strong enough to withstand the fact that the 2 parties involved continue to grow and change. Compromise is involved in nearly every aspect of existence – even when you are sitting alone right now. So, I’m not sure why compromise is considered a bad thing.

whitenoise's avatar

We cannot reliably predict next week’s weather, with all science we put behind it.

How do you expect we could be predicting the needs of our potential partner and ourselves?

Your perception of how a relationship needs to serve your needs is scary. The idea that you’d call your partner a fraud for not fitting your expectations is an indication you should consider staying single.

jerv's avatar

@whitenoise That seems to be the “in” thing lately; other humans are only worth what they can do for you, and it is immoral for others to even expect you to give anything (even respect), let alone dare ask for it.

rojo's avatar

Not being able to compromise must make deciding what to have for dinner a living hell.

Bill1939's avatar

In most instances, couples are attracted to each other because of their instinctive desire to reproduce. As they begin to know each other, some fundamental aspects of personality become evident. However, frequently they unconsciously project what they would like to see onto the other. If they have an extended relationship, most unrealistic expectations are supplanted by the discovery of the other’s actual nature. Unfortunately, too often the force of their libidos prematurely drives them to marry.

As the couple discovers where they diverge on a number of expectations that they had about marriage, communication may provide opportunities to compromise their differences. However, sometimes compromise is not possible. At this point two choices exist, one can capitulate or dissolve the relationship.

ibstubro's avatar

You’re assuming that neither party in the marriage will ever grow or evolve – that they will stay the same as they were on the first date forever. That’s not just unrealistic, it’s ludicrous.

Life it not a storybook where ‘Once upon a time’ you ‘live happily ever after’. A really good relationship will evolve, meaning that both members continue to change and grow and allow the same in their partner. If you see every change in the relationship as you making a compromise, then you’re probably still to egocentric to make a relationship last. I’m 100% certain that you’re not a fixed quotient so you cannot expect a partner to be one either.

filmfann's avatar

Compromise is a necessity in marriage. You will never find anyone who agrees with you 100% of the time.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If you want a true relationship, that means respecting her/his input and opinions. They’re not always going to be the same as yours. If they are something is out of whack. So compromise is the sign of a good relationship.

Darth_Algar's avatar

With that mindset I can’t help but think the OP has never been in a relationship, let alone married.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Darth_Algar Yeah, I’d guess you just nailed it.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Shorter OP: If the person I’m dating is not psychic and bends to my every whim, it’s not worth my time, and/or is fraud.

Yeah…. no. There are no two people, anywhere, which want the same things at the same time all the time. If that is what you are expecting, you do not in fact want a relationship, of any kind, at least not with humans. Not animals, either. Maybe a simple digital analogue.

bossob's avatar

I don’t even agree with myself 100% of the time, let alone a spouse!

I’m feeling benevolent at the moment, and wonder if the the second and third paragraphs of the OP are the real message: a complaint about people who put up a facade in order to appear more desirable to a potential mate, and then drop the facade once the knot is tied. That describes my first wife perfectly.

In my case, compromise didn’t have a chance, and capitulation was the only option. (It was a short marriage.)

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

All I can say is good luck on that, pal. You better have a nice, soft hand.

FlyingWolf's avatar

I think the reality is the exact opposite of what you are describing. Compromise is essential to a strong marriage. It is a fact that no two people are going to always be on the same page, at the same time, for the same reason. That just isn’t realistic, and during the inevitable moments when there is disagreement, the only solution is loving consultation leading to a compromise that works for both people A couple can discuss hypothetical situations and potential problems for hours on end every time they see each other for years running, and they are never going to have discussed every possible scenario that could occur during their marriage.

Another important truth is that dating and being married/living together are totally different animals. You can date someone for years and years and if you have never lived under the same roof (I mean lived together, not just spent the night at one another’s houses), there are parts of each other you have not seen.

Honestly, I can’t see how being willing to compromise can possibly be more depressing than feeling like the victim of fraud, believing you are in a sham marriage with a dishonest foundation, and arguing all the time.

Crazydawg's avatar

Compromise is all part of any partnership I can think of. If you intend to share your life with another person there inevitably will be situations you could not possibly foresee or predict and the result will be compromise or the partnership (marriage) will suffer and or fail. This example I would not characterize as fraud as no one I know can predict future events a marriage will face.

Now if one of the people in the marriage was lied to about specifics and expectations of their marriage while they were dating, that indeed would be fraud and place compromise in a whole other light.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Absolutely not. What? I have to assume you’re either not married or are married to someone that bends to your will without a second guess.

Marriage IS compromise. There are no two people exactly alike so, in order to find a good balance in your relationship, both parties should compromise and find a “happy zone” somewhere in between. What you’re describing, though, isn’t really compromise, it’s lying. If you say one thing while dating and then completely change your tune once you get married, that means you were deceiving the other person the whole time. Either that, or you didn’t really know how you’d handle the situation until it came up, which is just being human.

“I want my kids to be homeschooled” is easy to say until you have a kid, and then there are other things to consider. Cost, availability of the parent(s), socialization of the child, the child’s own preference, etc. We might not think about these things until the kid is actually ready to go to school. So, you have to compromise if there’s a difference in opinion. And, if you can’t find that middle ground, the relationship may suffer. It’s life.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I’m wondering how you define compromise for yourself. If you are thinking in regards to compromising one’s basic standards or beliefs, then no, that would not make for a healthy relationship. If you mean you are hoping to find someone who is perfect in every way, and settling for something less than that is a compromise, I say good luck finding perfection will have you.
I see you may also mean this compromise to be a one sided situation, where one party is frequently caving in for the sake of a relationship, while the other remains demanding and unyeilding. That would not be healthy either.
However, veiwing compromise as an interactive element, where both persons are yeilding, accommodating, and sharing, that would be the foundation for a very strong and lasting union.

While @Judi makes some very good points, I disagree about you never getting married. I hope you work things out for yourself, absorb some very helpful tips presented for you throughout the answers, and one day enjoy a very joyful marriage.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The examples you give are severe and rather obvious deal breakers, but I disagree. All partnerships involve compromise. There are always going to be areas where you and your spouse differ. The key is whether the 2 of you can adjust to one another and see beyond your perceived flaws and defects. Despite the fairy tales, You don’t fall in love with your spouse because he or she is perfect.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Refusing to compromise is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Blondesjon's avatar


Burnt food, bad sex, and country music are indications of a bad marriage.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

I have very little time before I have to plug my computer back in and leave the garden.

So, I agree with Stanley. Something is wrong here.

As someone who has been married for 44 years and together for 46 I can say that a couple either learns to compromise or they have a crappy or no relationship.


Coloma's avatar

I think your ideals are crazy rigid and you WILL be disappointed of you don’t expect anything to ever change in a relationship/marriage. Compromise IS a FACT. People change, gain weight, change their diets and habits, for better or for worse. You aren’t being even remotely realistic.
One of the major reasons people end up divorcing 20 years down the line, becausee we DO CHANGE, sometimes profoundly so.

Trying to control another human and keep the status quo, instead of accepting a flow, is going to be a disaster!
Nobody can predict how they might change or grow.
For all you know your partner might decide to become a fucking monk and move to the Himalayas, or decide they want to quit their job and become an artist, or any number of unpredictable changes.
I’m a tell it like it is type, and you sound like a major control freak.
If your idea of marriage is a prison where the other can’t gain 20 lbs. or eat a freaking ice cream cone, or assert any independence and differences, do not go there, your rigid philosophy is going to spread a lot of misery around, for all involved.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Isn’t “fucking monk” kind of an oxymoron?

Judi's avatar

I wish the asker would come back and tell us what he thinks of our responses!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The only compromise I see that is bad in a marriage is when one or both partners compromise against themselves. If they know they want kids but their spouse don’t and they compromise their desire for kids to be with that person, it is a recipe for bitterness and resentment to fester. If there is a non-negotiable in the other person has and it is a non-negotiable for them to give it up, or to start doing, pass on that relationship; it is a ship doom to sink.

Coloma's avatar

@Judi Heh..methinks the little cockerel is chicken. Bawk, bawk, bawk…lol

ibstubro's avatar

Lack of affirmation of the narrow minded belief may have caused the OP to dismiss Fluther as a hotbed of atheistic liberals, IMO, @Judi. Methinks his blissfully ‘no maintenance’ bride has proven to have a brain after all.

rojo's avatar

@ibstubro as for a “low maintenance” bride. Even your hand needs its nails clipped from time to time.

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