Monday, July 6, 2015

How Learning to Compromise Has Helped Me Have a Happier Marriage

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By Nkem Akinsoto

Atala and I had a shortish and mostly online relationship before getting married, as some of you may already know. He was in the United States and I was in Edinburgh, and he visited only 3 times before we got married after dating for just about 6 months. I want to add that before then we'd known each other for over a year online, and had corresponded as friends for about 6 months before we started dating. But that may not have much to do with this post I'm writing, or does it?

After getting married, we soon found out that marriage can be very complicated. I've heard people who say the first year of marriage is the toughest, however, ours was mostly filled with happy moments, and added to the happiness we both already had in each other, separately and together. In that first year, having date nights at home all the time, and going out regularly was one handy trick I used :)

I was able to join Atala in the US less than a month after our wedding and two weeks after he himself returned, so luckily we avoided the stress of being separated by visa issues. [I know a few couples whose marriage were destroyed because they couldn't join each other and one party could not also travel often back due to hectic work.] But even after I joined him, we had to begin to know how to live together, we had to deal with issues like his work schedule, my not being able to work, and then moving to a new house. All these came with their tensions, and arguments, and compromises.

He wants a one bedroom, I want a three bed, we get a two bedroom. He wants to eat poundo, I want Pizza, we settle for bread with omelette. Funny, right? Though it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes, the compromise means we either go with what one of us wants, and the other person accepts it with love. Like recently, he wanted only a short vacation, and I wanted more days, so we went for a 7 days cruise, which was amazing by the way,see pic above:)

According to Familyshare, compromise sometimes gets a bad rap because some "people fear compromising will only jeopardize who they are as a person", believing "they can no longer make decisions for themselves". I agree that if you agree with your spouse all the time without voicing your opinions, then that could be an issue. But when your spouse also meets you halfway and allows that you can make decisions for your marriage and family, you have a team work that can only make you grow as a person.

In the Mistresses show yesterday, Joss has just started dating her sister's ex husband, after months of debating whether to go along with it. But then when he did not ask her officially to be his girlfriend during a fulfilling night together, she begins to doubt herself and him, and their love for each other.

But he's distracted by a busy schedule at work, and she doesn't seem to get it. When it turns out he doesn't like the same houses she does as she is pushing him to have them move in together, she thinks he's toying with her. In some cases, you need 3 free mins of psychic reading to know there's something really off with their relationship.

Some people build their relationships and their dreams of a future for their love on the idea that being married would lead to automatic happiness. I think that foundation is shaky, and will quickly break up under the stress of daily life.

I think some of the people who experience a lot of disappointment in marriage are those who are not happy in themselves but expect to cross the threshold after their wedding and immediately become happy, just because they are now married. Maybe they think their partner is their personal comedian and their primary purpose is to keep them entertained. But life is not like that. There is more to marriage than making love all day and all night like on your honeymoon, life happens.

One woman may need to go back to school, the other may be returning to their boring customer service or retail job, another might get pregnant immediately and have to deal with morning sickness or worse. The man may lose his job, have to travel over an extended period, have a deadline looming, or a promotion that stresses him out.

It won't be surprising that such a stressed out couple, even just a few weeks and months into their marriage may be spending more time apart than together, and not getting a lot of intimacy to bond them closer. And rather than taking advantage of the few hours they have together, they might argue about nothing or get annoyed with each other over the little things. While married people need to not lose focus of their individual lives, compromise is the trick to keep a balance so you don't end up living separate lives.

Marriage is difficult and tough, and challenging, and hard, and sometimes can feel like a true test of character by fire, lol. But that is only sometimes, and when you are conscious of this, it begins to happen less and less. I believe that when you work on your marriage, as you would on a budding and growing relationship, allowing for some compromise, then love has room to lift your marriage above life's little bumps.

What has been your experience of having to compromise in marriage? Let's discuss in the comments!

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