The Art of Compromise
Whether it's the engagement photo or the announcement, the reception hall or the tuxedo she wants you to wear (the one you have no intention of wearing), the honeymoon plans, or the apartment you desperately want to secure for your life after the wedding (the one she has no intention of moving into, citing “hygiene issues”), life is full of compromises. You're going to learn this as you move further along the wedding planning trail. It doesn't stop once you're married, of course, so
Anyone who uses this phrase inevitably uses it too much. However, there are appropriate applications for its use. A parent who is corralling an unruly child, for example, might try this demand on for size, and an employer who is running a tight ship might live by this mantra as well. These conditions are well suited for using this particular decree.
Some issues are obviously more serious than others, but consider the underlying implications of making a unilateral decision about your wedding against the wishes of your fiancée. It simply isn't rational for you to go ahead and do something that you know is going to upset her (if you've come so far in planning a formal wedding, she was probably going on the unspoken assumption that you would wear something
Of course, men are not alone in issuing dictates during the wedding season. Brides are often known to turn into alien creatures, ordering their grooms to perform duties that border on slave labor. In the interest of fairness, she shouldn't be doing this to you, either, but the core issue in her demands is likely to be achieving the wedding of her dreams. It doesn't excuse her actions, but if you understand her motivations, you'll have a leg up on working out some of her more outrageous expectations (for example, her idea of “formal wedding wear” is based on Renaissance clothing — complete with tights for you).
Blatantly going against your bride's wishes makes you look as though you're goading her or that you're enjoying her predicament; and it makes you look as though you're living by another mantra: “No one's going to tell
Sometimes a bride who is spiraling out of control in this way needs a gentle reminder: The wedding is supposed to be about the two of you, and not about her idea of complete perfection
Swinging to the complete opposite end of “compromise,” this phrase exhibits a complete lack of interest in the situation at hand. While some of your already married friends may advise you that this is the way out of any potential argument in any relationship with any woman, and especially with your wife … ask yourself if this is the way you want
You may argue that your future wife is looking for a fight when she raises the issue of your bachelor party (and how many strippers will be included) for the umpteenth time, and by countering her request (in this case, a request to eliminate the strippers altogether) with a simple “Yes, Dear,” you've actually avoided conflict. You're both happier because of it, right?
Wrong. Any wife (or bride-to-be) who hears this phrase from her partner isn't fooled by it — or at least not for very long. When this becomes your response of choice in any discussion initiated by your fiancée, you're going to have conflict. She will realize that not only are you not listening to what she's saying (intentional or not, this is a side effect of using this phrase — there's no
You're not doing your fiancée any favors by pretending to agree with her — you're not doing yourself any favors, either. This is a sure-fire way to break down any intimacy that exists between the two of you.
This phrase really has only one purpose: To avoid communicating with your fiancée.
Since marriage is supposed to be about building a strong alliance between the two of you, think twice before you shoot her down with a “Yes, Dear.”
That being said, some brides do wield their veils like sickles, mowing down everyone in their paths simply because the mood strikes them. The engagement ring gives them strange ideas about immediate and complete compliance with their requests. If you recognize your fiancée in this description, you are allowed to use the
Compromise is the core of a successful, happy relationship. One of you shouldn't be doing all the giving while the other does all the taking. Even if you're so in love that this arrangement is working for you right now, things will most likely change down the line. Each spouse needs to know that his or her needs and wishes are respected. No one wants to feel as though they're constantly giving in to someone else's requests.
If you and your bride-to-be constantly spoil each other and won't take a step forward on any issue unless you're both in complete agreement, you're on the right track. Maybe you do give in to her every whim, but she's giving in to your requests, too. Neither of you is getting greedy with demands.
If your relationship has already passed this phase and you find yourselves negotiating every issue for weeks on end, remember this: No one gets their way every time. It's not fair, and it's not right. If there seems to be an inordinate amount of giving on your part (or hers) — or if your discussions go nowhere because neither of you will give in to the other — you both need to take a step back and look at the bigger issues in your relationship:
Do you expect too much from her?
Does she expect you to agree with every word that comes out of her mouth?
Is one of you always expecting the other to comply with every request?
While there are certainly more serious issues that can crop up in a marriage (abuse, affairs, illness), refusing to listen and compromise with each other can set your marriage up for a lifetime of unhappiness. If you're really having trouble discussing big issues consider premarital counseling.