4. Compromise Leaves Self on the Shelf
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There is no more direct way to draw your spouse’s heart toward yours than to put yourself on the shelf and say, “Not my will, but yours.” In your marriage, this phrase is the ultimate compromise and service to your spouse and often sounds like:
- “Not my choice of a restaurant tonight, but yours.”
- “Not my night to have uninterrupted sleep, but yours.”
- “Not my story to dominate the conversation, but yours.”
- “Not my feelings to protect today, but yours.”
- “Not my dream to pursue right now, but yours.”
It’s tough to compromise that way and leave self on the shelf. Self wants to rule. Self wants its own way. Self suffocates. And self ultimately destroys. The Bible shows us what the opposite of self looks like when it describes love, which is selfless and full of compromise:
“Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, CEV). Compromise is love in action because it denies self.
5. Compromise Helps You Become a Tosser, Not a Keeper
Because we each grew up around keepers (collectors or hoarders of stuff), Hugh and I were determined once we got married to be tossers. We would collect only adventures, experiences, and memories that added to the value of our lives, not material stuff that would take up space. And we vowed to toss the unnecessary, the junk, the things that many couples let amass over the years that are worth very little. Yet, the real conversation we should have had before we married was whether we were tossers or keepers when it came to our hurts and offenses.
Someone who can forgive is a tosser. One who can’t let it go is a keeper. Scripture tells us we can keep our hearts softened and able to compromise, forgive, and let go of offenses when we guard our hearts so they don’t harden. Proverbs 4:23 instructs, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” In the NASB, that verse reads: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” You can keep your heart from becoming hardened by offenses and accusations when you let them go, toss them out, and practice compromise without resentment. It’s when we believe we must compromise over and over and then hold onto that resentment and let it fester that we become unforgiving, unteachable, and unable to compromise again. Guard your heart. Meet your spouse in the middle and do it as an act of love and service.
For more on improving your communication (and ability to compromise) with your spouse, see Cindi’s books, When Couples Walk Together, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, and 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband.
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