Meg writes, “People will tell you the key to any successful relationship is compromise.” This is illustrated by alternating who chooses the movie, which is perhaps the most common example of relationship compromise.
This common belief disheartens me.
Let me address the minor aspect, the movie thing. Should couples feel compelled to see every movie together? Seeing a film alone is not a signal of the end of your love — it’s just a reflection of different tastes. In fact, it can be very liberating. I imagine that goading someone to see a film they’re uninterested in can only lead to a kind of seething contempt. But maybe that’s just me.
On the larger issue of compromise, well, yes, I can see compromise as being very important in relationships where people are thrown together by circumstance — work, politics, air travel, etc. To make the most of the situation, there will likely need to be give and take.
But love? That’s a relationship of choice. Why choose to be in a relationship where you have to compromise? While searching Google for “relationship compromise” mostly returns writing that supports the notion that compromise is a key to success, I found one insightful article that purports the opposite. The author of “Is Relationship really about compromise” argues that compromise “has no place in a relationship built on love, truth and respect.”
Compromise in relationship means to choose to be someone you would not naturally be, for the sake of the relationship. It is giving up being who you really are in the hope of guaranteeing the love of another. Compromise is based on the fear that unless we are somebody different to who we would naturally be, we risk losing love. All we are really risking is losing ourselves.
Contrary to a very popular belief that compromise supports love; the truth is compromise erodes love. When you compromise yourself for the sake of the relationship, very quickly resentment is experienced, not love. Love and resentment are mutually exclusive. They don’t live in the same house; they don’t even live in the same suburb!
I find that statement remarkably affirming.
I think it’s telling that when it comes to friendships, people don’t really compromise. If friends have to extensively maneuver in order to find common ground, they will inevitably drift apart. It doesn’t make sense to hang out with people who won’t let you be yourself. Does it make sense to deny aspects of yourself for the sake of love?
(I suspect Meg never thought her statement would engender such an earnest response. But it’s one of those Things I Believe, and it kinda triggered a chord.)