A few months back, I found myself listening to Steve Harvey’s “Strawberry Letter” segment on my way to work. In the letter, the wife Michelle, was sharing how discouraged she was in her husband, Carlos, for not assisting her in the care of her ailing mother. As Michelle began her letter, she talked about how glorious things had been between these twenty somethings during their two years of marriage. However things changed considerably once Michelle moved her mother in. To her surprise, Carlos refused to assist Michelle with the personal care needs of her decompensating mother. He began to withdraw himself from Michelle, coming home three to four hours later than usual secluding himself to the downstairs bedroom. Michelle admitted toward the end of the letter that she did not discuss her mother moving in until after she was there. Distraught and overwhelmed, Michelle wrote in to see if she should leave her husband because of his refusal to help.
This letter is a microcosm of what is wrong with relationships today. It never dawned on Michelle that she was in the wrong and to my surprise, Steve addressed that in his commentary. How can one take on the task of an ailing parent without discussing it with the spouse? Even though the wife had good intentions, it was not a discussion she had with her husband. She expected Carlos to be kosher with the decision, jumping in to give baths and wiping the ass of a person he doesn’t know in that intimate fashion. And the fact that Michelle felt that his non-compliance to her ultimatum is grounds for divorce only troubles me as I continue in the world of dating.
For me, the problem of this letter was clear. Unfortunately, I was in the minority. Many called in stating that the husband was selfish and that he should have been willing to pitch in even though it was not discussed with him. As I sat there in my car, I shook my head in amazement because men and women have now been conditioned to believe that compromise is an ugly word. According to our society only one party in the union should concede to the other, which nine times out of ten is the man. And that ladies and gents, is troublesome. Honestly, it’s out and out scary! No one wants to give up their own agenda for the greater good. It sounds a lot like our government. Sounds a lot like our churches. Sounds a lot like testing versus learning in our schools. You see the trend?
compromise – an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
settle – the act of giving up someone you love or something of value for less than desired, the act of not being able to satisfy your need or want and choosing someone or something of lower standard or value.
One of the reasons why we don’t like the word compromise is because it is synonymous with settling. Looking at the actual definitions, both are somewhat interchangeable and thus can be taken out of context. When life coaches speak on not settling, they are referring to one’s morals and standards (i.e. continuing a relationship with a physical/emotional bully). But when you are in a relationship, you are looking for ways to settle a disagreement in which both sides make concessions. Let me say that again. Both sides make concessions. That’s how relationships are designed to work. Both parties come to the table and share both points of view in a civil manner (which requires good communication skills). After an agreement is met, both parties not only feel like they have a voice, they both have equal power.
This is the side of relationships that the one percent doesn’t want you to see. We are showered with memes and quotes daily that say as long as you keep the woman happy, you will have a happy life. That’s true to a certain extent. However, you can’t make anyone happy all the time. There will be times where your gestures can be taken the wrong way and an argument ensues. Why? Because no one is perfect. We are imperfect beings however, we are being programmed to believe that we are perfect . . . and that’s a problem.
One of the main reasons why I’m still single is because my ex and I never really compromised. She had her own agenda. I had my own. I wanted someone to be all the things my ex-wife wasn’t. She wanted to be a wife in the least amount of time possible. She was a great actress: she gave into everything that I said . . . which honestly seemed a little too unreal. After a while, I didn’t accept it as truth so I held on to my instincts. Sure enough the truth came to light as her lies began to tell on her. She was agreeing with all of my suggestions just so that she could have a ring on her finger. As our affair drew to an end, I began to see who she really was. And I’m not saying that I didn’t like the real person that came forth but she never really gave me the chance. She spent so much time pretending that I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing who she really was.
It’s funny how we only think of compromising when we are going through divorce proceedings or begging to come back into our love one’s life. We have gone so far to the left with our own agendas that we have forgotten how to work together. If we could do things on our own, I honestly don’t think God would have taken the time to construct Eve from Adam. We were made to unite as one . . . . . not stand alone.
- Next week’s topic: Part II: The Settling Epidemic aka What the Hell You Waiting On?!
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