Concession Stand: A Discussion On The Compromises Men Make In Relationships
As I type this blog, looking for a great topic to discuss, my mind wandered, as usual. I thought about the plight of the single man, the man in a relationship, and the final frontier: marriage. I’ve thought about that day more times than I can count. Don’t believe me? It’s true! Ladies, if a man tells you that he’s never dreamt of being married, it’s a definite swindle.
When I think of any relationship, including marriage, the first word that comes to mind is compromise. Am I willing to concede certain aspects of my current life for the benefit of a union? What battles should I fight and is battling even worth the trouble? Will I look bad, or feel a way for the concessions that I make? Knowing that marriage and commitment scare men at some point in life, I thought to call upon “The Married Guy” Mr. Spradley to properly throw the CP3-esque lob to this blog and assist me accordingly. I’ll have him outline 4 compromises that men will almost always have to make in a serious relationship, and I’ll provide a rebuttal. So Most Sprads, what are some relationship concessions that must be made in order to keep a happy home?
Compromise #1: Accountability
The biggest, and most noticeable compromise one makes when you make the transition from being single to being married is accountability. As a single man, so much of your time is spent being accountable to yourself, and only yourself. If you decide to only change your bedsheets after relations, that’s your choice. Clean the bathroom once a month, your choice. Spend money irresponsibly, your choice. Once married, all of your decisions are made with someone else in mind. You have to consider your wife in nearly everything you say and do.
The flip side of that, is that you must also hold your wife accountable. Sometimes, that’s even more difficult that being accountable to her. Most men I know, like me, are generally laid back, not really interested in fighting or arguing. Generally speaking, we rate peace and quiet over everything, so if she’s done something that’s only slightly annoying we often let it go in favor of keeping the peace. Part of holding your wife accountable sometimes means sacrificing peace and quiet and having difficult conversations about things she’s doing that pique your anger or annoyance because not having those conversations in the moment often lead to huge disagreements further down the line. The thing you have to realize is that most likely, your wife is going to tell you about every single thing you do that annoys her. And as much as it sucks, her doing so will make you a better husband. If you want her to be a better wife, you’ve got to tell her where she’s falling short.
Do this enough in the first couple years of your marriage and you’ll eventually settle into a nice little groove where you’re consistently meeting each other’s needs and focusing on enjoying each other.
I think this is why a lot of guys are apprehensive and adverse to being in relationships. It’s difficult to be critiqued. It’s even more difficult to disturb that peace and quiet that you spoke about above. Peace of mind is very important to me, and like you, I am the type to pick and choose my battles. The key is in recognizing the value of the relationships, and doing what’s necessary to strengthen and enhance them.
Compromise # 2: Free Time
When you’re married, you will not have the same kind of free time you had when you were single. But the truth is, it’s really not a bad thing. If you not only love your wife, but you also actually like her, spending a good portion of what used to be your free time with her is a good thing. One of the boundaries I try to maintain is the idea that “free time” doesn’t automatically mean “we time.” In most marriages, if she doesn’t have anything to do, and he doesn’t have anything to do, then by default, they have something to do. What that ends up creating is this expectation that all of your free time is to be spent with her. Where there are expectations, there is inevitably disappointment.
The way you overcome this is twofold. First, you have to create opportunities to spend quality time with your wife. Schedule dates, meet up with her for lunch, eat dinner in the dining room instead of in front of the television, just … do stuff … as often as possible. On the flipside, schedule time to hang out with your boys. Try to go out and do stuff with your friends once or twice a week from early on. Don’t just wait till stuff comes up with your friends, make stuff happen. Doing this from early on in your marriage will help create the expectation that free time doesn’t always mean “we” time and that will cause the two of you to not take each other’s presence for granted and appreciate the time you spend together that much more.
I cherish that free time as much as anything in the world. The fallacy in free time, is that for the average person you have as much “down time” as “free time”. There is a difference. Free Time is time that you have to yourself to perform tasks that may or may not be associated with your significant other. Down Time is when you don’t have sh*t to do. I swindle myself into thinking that both are interchangeable. Dudes think that their time plummets into a bottomless vortex created by their wives the minute they take the vows. Reading your words, I see that it’s more important to establish a certain behaviour pattern prior to and at the onset of marriage. It’s also important to KNOW WHO YOU MARRY! Don’t be surprised if you marry a clingy woman and she gets even more possessive after marriage.
Compromise 3: The Television
If you’re a man who likes sports, you’re going to need two TVs. There’s no other way around it. A typical Sunday during the fall consists of church from 9am-11am, football from 11am-11pm and then SportsCenter 11pm till I start dosing off. I don’t care how big a football fan your wife is, she’s not trying to watch 12 straight hours of football every single week and it’s not really fair to expect her to. If you live in a smaller house or apartment when you’re starting out like most newly weds and the only legit spaces for a television are the living room and the bedroom, you’ll eventually run into the “tv in bedroom or no tv in the bedroom” discussion. This is one of those discussions where you have to put your foot down and win. You must win this. You need two tvs. Trust me. A DVR too. So clutch. The compromise here is that you let her use the big TV. Sometimes.
Let the church say AMEN! Two TVs will absolutely be the minimum. I can only imagine what the battles will look like regarding Video Games, lol. I hated fighting for the remote when we had one TV in the house. I don’t want to reenact a scene of Spartacus with the wife for TV rights. Concessions will have to be made, and I think all non-married men will have to accept that.
Compromise 4: Events
I struggle majorly with attending events I don’t really want to attend. If I don’t want to go, I just won’t go and I won’t feel bad about it–even if I don’t have anything else to do besides stay home and play Madden. The Mrs. on the other hand, she’s a really, really nice person. If you invite her to something and she doesn’t have anything else to do, she’s going to go. Most couples I know have this sort of dichotomy and you probably will too. You’re going to have to compromise. The problem most men fall into is that they start their marriage feeling obligated to go to every single event their wives tell them they’re invited to. They’re afraid to say no. If you do this, eventually your wife will start assuming that you’re going to everything. I did the opposite early on. I said no to everything. I wouldn’t suggest this, but I would suggest not being afraid to say no-often, even if it causes a bit of an argument those first couple years. It’s better for your wife to be surprised by you saying “yes” to attending something than it is for her to be surprised by you saying “no” to attending something.
I’m surprised to hear you say that. I thought it would be bad to say no early and often, but I understand your logic. I think it should be important that your wife knows the type of guy that you are, and makes expectations based off of that. If she knows you abhor baby showers, then she shouldn’t be surprised if you say no. I will say that you should make a concerted effort to go to some things even if you’re not a fan. This, to me, is the quid pro quo part of a marriage, or any relationship of merit.
A Few Random Thoughts On Why Compromising is Overrated
Relationship experts always tell you that compromising in marriage is important. And while it is, in some situations, in others, it’s actually unhealthy. Think of it like this:
Kevin and Keisha are heading to the movies. Kevin wants to see the latest big budget action adventure flick and has no interest in the latest period drama. Keisha wants to see the latest period drama and has no interest in the latest big budget action adventure flick. Kevin and Keisha compromise and end up going to see the latest romantic comedy.
That’s the problem with always compromising. Sometimes compromising means both people win. Other times, compromising means both of you lose. In those situations it’s better for one person to let the other person have their way, trusting that eventually the roles will reverse. You never want the idea of compromising to become more important than selflessness. You want to get to the point where, if you’re stuck wanting to see two vastly different movies, you’re insisting that y’all go see the movie she wants to see and she’s insisting y’all go see the movie you want to see. When you’re fighting for it to be your turn to be selfless, your marriage is truly healthy.
Naturally, when the word compromise is mentioned, people think of it more as a concession than an agreement. No one wants to be a loser. No one wants to seem weak when debating a platform or ideal for which they support. You just have to know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em.
I think of compromise in relationships like a game of pickup basketball. When calls are made (foul, walk, etc.) they can severely slow the game down. Everyone wants to argue whether the call was right or wrong. You don’t have referees who make definitive decisions and keep the flow of the game consistent, so you can sit there and argue forever. When you inject testosterone and competition into the equation, you get a bunch of men who don’t want to look like a sucker, and want their calls upheld. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t that dude on many occasions, but I also want to continue playing. So, the suggestion is usually a) you shoot for it (if the guy makes a shot they get possession) or b) respect the call (even if it’s a BS call) and you “get the next one”. This way, you can resolve the issue and get back to actually hoopin’.
These are easy solutions to end the conflict, but when someone is blinded by pride, they can’t see the forest from the trees. Sometimes in relationships, you have to be willing to “get the next call” and concede your point for the greater good. Marriage isn’t a utopia.Spradley and my other married friends remind me all the time. The lesson here is simple: Be realistic, be rational, and be consistent in all stages of the relationship life cycle.
Fellas, as you all look forward to marriage (or back on single life for the married dudes) what are some of the things you envision giving up? Where are some of the places you think you’ll have to sacrifice to make the marriage work? Are there any situations where compromising is not an option? When is it right to compromise and right to argue your point? What is the best tactic you use when you have a difference of opinion?