1 a : settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
2 : a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial <a compromise of principles>
With words like "settlement" and "concessions" used to define it, how can anyone see compromise as a good thing? Phil thinks compromise is the greatest thing since steak sandwiches. Clearly, he’s a terrific team player, far better than I. He sees it as "working together," and believes it affords you a content life. "But who the hell wants a content life? I want a joyful ecstatic life, not a content one."
"Compromise," he says, "is a dedication to finding an us."
I think the less you have to compromise, the better suited you are for each other. Hmm. Take something as benign as decorating a house, art specifically. One person likes contemporary while the other is passionate about the renaissance period. They go shopping for one piece (they cannot afford two). Everything she likes, he snarls at. Everything he favors, she says, "absolutely not." Where is the compromise? I would say, they both have to settle somewhere in between. That’s their compromise, walking away with art that both of them can tolerate but about which neither is ecstatic. Yuck.
Growing up, when my father wanted to play cards with the men at the club come Sunday afternoon, my mother put her foot down, saying she wanted Sundays as a family. So he compromised. He GAVE UP his preferred activity of playing cards as his compromise, to let her know she was important. So to me, compromise is really giving up what you really want to make the other person happy. Yes, yes, in an ideal world, making your significant other happy would make you feel even better than doing what you really want to do. I don’t live in that world every single day. Some days, sure. Sometimes, though, I really really want the froufrou bedding that he screams emasculates him. So I settle with something else, something we can both live with. Settling is compromise to me. To Phil, he insists he’s happier because we’ve found something that’s "us." But when your spouse is thinking, "what we just picked is okay, but not really great," how is that something to feel content about? I hate compromising and wish everything could be my way. Though I suppose if I always did get my way, I’d tire of it, and insist we do things his way. Maybe not. I wouldn’t know. All we do is compromise, settle, make concessions on each other’s behalf. I just can’t get around to seeing it as a wonderful exciting thing. Compromise is exactly what Webster’s says it is. "Something intermediate."