The Conundrum Of Compromise

"Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another- too often ending in the loss of both." Tryon Edwards


Marriage is the combining of two lives into one. From a romantic perspective, this is a beautiful thing. From a practical perspective, it’s counterproductive. Marriage is like a business merger. It involves two separate people with separate goals and separate resources available to accomplish their respective goals. When you get married, you join another person in a business contract. Then your assets and goals become inseparable.

This works great in two scenarios:

1: If all of your goals are exactly the same.

2: Neither of you has any goals.

The first scenario has never happened. The second is more common than it should be. If you don’t fall into either, you’re going to have to make compromises with your lover. You’ve probably heard someone say, “compromise is the key to a successful relationship.” This sounds fair, but it oversimplifies life.

Compromise means neither person gets exactly what they want so both parties can get a little of what they want. Think about this slowly: The end result is that nobody gets what they really want. Let me repeat that, “Nobody gets what they want.”

Happiness is achieved by fulfilling your wants. If you rarely get to fulfill your wants, you’ll rarely get to experience full happiness… unless you lower your expectations. In other words, unless you give up on your hopes and dreams. Marriage is a doomed business venture if it makes both parties unhappy until they give up and accept a substandard life, all the while using cognitive dissonance to excuse away the negative realities of marriage until they no longer live in reality.


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3 responses to “The Conundrum Of Compromise

  • Tim Denton

    It is a little better than that. You have to have similar values, I grant. There are no meaningful compromises possible over decisions like whether to raise children.
    But you also have to both be people who accept that if a thing is important to the other person, it is important. You also have both realize the difficulties of communication. The other person will be different. Go back and forth until you understand each other. If you can enjoy trying to understand how the other person is different from you, it’s a good start.


  • zozzolina

    …..good point I am still optimistic and think when its the right person things are just simple and flow ….and when you do start compromising an even better idea/plan is found. E.g. Simple example – U want to go to this bar, he wants to go to that restaurant and in the end you go to a totally new place that lands up being better than the 2 original suggestions.

    ‘Happiness is achieved by fulfilling your wants’………I believe happiness is achieved by evolving and sometimes that means realizing what you want and need and get are totally different……but shit what do I know???
    I’ve been single nearly two years cause I totally agree with your concept on compromise and refuse to ‘lower my expectations’


  • Myles

    Nice analysis. The institution only starts to make sense when kids get involved, a compromise towards the mutual goal of bringing them up.


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