Compromising Situations

IMGP0446I’ve been married for almost 24 years and it has not always been easy. Marriage is a long and twisty road, full of hills and valleys. Sometimes you’re coasting with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, other times you’re pedaling up a hill that just won’t end.

One of the biggest lessons I hope my husband and I have passed along to our four daughters is that keeping a marriage strong requires compromise. Fortunately (for me), I married someone who is pretty good at this so things have frequently worked out in my favor. Being outnumbered 5-1 in our house was not particularly advantageous for my husband as the girls and I often banded together to get our way. Honestly, he never really had a fighting chance.

Here’s a list of things Rob and I have had to duke it out about over about over the years. Some things were biggies while others were quite petty, all seemed to be kind of a big deal at the time!

  1. Can I have ten more minutes? Whoa…this one was almost a deal breaker for my husband. Rob is chronically early and I tend to be a blade runner or just plain late. He is in the Army and I guess that’s the way they do things there. Anyway, I learned to ask for a hard departure time and made sure I was ready or things got really cranky.
  2. Isn’t this puppy adorable? Luckily for us, we both like animals. Our problem is in trying to agree on how many pets we would have. I said more! More! MORE! He disagreed. Over the years, I have won this battle because my husband deploys a lot and spends weeks away on training exercises. It was not unusual for him to come home to find a new dog or cat living under our roof. Our current tally is four dogs and two cats.
  3. Can you point that thing at someone else? Rob owned a shotgun when we got married. I wasn’t thrilled about
    58538_136559313056195_1039821_n

    Deployment number five, this one was a year in Iraq. My husband is on the left.

    having a firearm in the house, but didn’t make a stink over it. However, once we had kids I wanted it OUT of the house. Sure, some people may think this is alarmist, but I just didn’t feel comfortable having a gun in the house because: Kids + Guns = Accident Waiting To Happen. And anyway, Rob’s in the army…he plays with guns for a living, why did he need one at home? Bye, bye shotgun.

  4. Do you wanna build a snowman? I hate being cold in my own house. Rob is always burning up and this makes him really ornery. I have finally given in on this due to his extreme grouchiness when feeling hot and bothered. My closet is now filled with warm and fuzzy bathrobes and I have an electric blanket on my side of the bed as well as throw blankets all over the house.
  5. Will you be home for dinner? I was shocked out of my mind when I got married and discovered that my husband did not keep normal working hours. He’s an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, so I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. Spending weeks at a time in the field, traveling to other countries, and even deploying were all part of his job description. I’m not going to lie, I was bitter at first and angry and disappointed. Once I accepted the reality of my new life as an Army wife, I embraced it. Being an independent and resourceful person, I actually came to quite enjoy the time I had to myself and with the kids. I don’t get these breaks from my husband very often anymore and sometimes I miss them…shhh.
  6. Where are we going to baptize the kids? I was raised protestant and Rob was brought up in the Catholic Church. We were married in a non-denominational military chapel four days before Rob deployed for the Gulf War. Our different religious backgrounds didn’t bother us at all, but once we had kids we knew we had some decisions to make. Our parents were starting to ask questions…Where are you going to baptize the baby? What about First Holy Communion? Ultimately, we ended up going the Catholic route since Rob’s faith meant more to him.
  7. I forgot to add this to the vows.

    Who left the seat up? Well that’s an easy question to answer in our house since there’s only one male living here. I’m not sure how I lost on this one; especially since there are five of us girls living in my house, but my husband will not put that seat down! Falling into the commode in the middle of the night never loses its shock value.

  8. Did you really vote for Romney? We are opposites, one democrat and one republican. Most of the time we just don’t talk about it. I have been accused, however, of pulling all four girls to my side of the political spectrum. Guilty as charged. When you’re right you’re right, what can I say?
  9. HOW COULD YOU? Rob grew up in a house that wasn’t particularly loud, but voices were raised when someone need to get their point across. And of course in the Army, people yell and shout to get things done. Well, I don’t do yelling. Ever. It hurts my feelings and upsets me. After seeing how well bellowing at me went the first few times, Rob learned to use his “indoor voice” during our disagreements. Most of the time.
  10. Who gets the new car? Me.
  11. Black Friday damage

    Black Friday damage

    Don’t you love my new camera? This has been a toughie and one that we still struggle with. I like to buy stuff and Rob likes to watch his pennies pile up. Many, many, many dedicated attempts have been made to a) create a workable budget and b) stick to the budget, but as of now, this is filed under: Work In Progress. Bottom line…having four daughters is expensive and I like to buy stuff. I know I’ll be sorry about my choices when we retire.

  12. Whose turn is it to unload the dishwasher? Rob and I both grew up in households where the female members were responsible for chores related to cooking, cleaning, and childcare. I was determined that this would not be the case in my marriage. Perhaps I was a little strident at times in pursing my liberation from the traditional feminine role, but I did what I needed to do. Dishes, dusting, and diapers have been shared between the two of us over the past 24 years.
  13. Has anyone seen my high school letter jacket? My husband is a hoarder. Ok, that is a little strong, but he likes to save everything in case he ever needs it or wants to look at it. Two of my favorite things to do in life are decluttering and throwing things away. Basically, I have gotten around his need to be surrounded by everything he has ever owned by tossing things when he is deployed (he never notices) and dedicating most of the basement to him so he can cram it up any way he likes.
  14. IMG_3811

    My husband with his medium grouchy face on.

    Did you just flip him off? Rob and I have very different driving styles that can make long road trips VERY unpleasant. I like to drive fast and he is an aggressive driver. He’s afraid I’m going to get a speeding ticket that will bust the budget. I’m afraid someone’s going to pull out a gun and shoot us because he’s tailgating, flashing his headlights, and honking his horn at them. We have both learned to chill out when we are driving so that we can arrive to our destination still speaking to one another. I use the cruise control; he uses self-control…and deep breathing exercises.

  15. Are you mad at me? I used to always think my husband was mad at me or just really antisocial because he didn’t talk very much. He would come home from work and do things by himself. We are both introverts and enjoy time to our selves, but his need for alone time was much greater than mine. Talking through this helped, but the real breakthrough came when we started reading about Myers-Briggs personality types together. Once we studied each other’s personality type, we understood one another other so much better and were able to appreciate and respect our differences. If you’re curious, I’m an INFJ and Rob is an INTJ.
  16. Are you caught up on Pretty Little Liars? Oh boy, Rob has had to do a lot of compromising (giving in) here. He loves war movies and old movies. I can’t stand either. If it was made more than 15 years ago, I really don’t want to see it. This is very narrow-minded I know, and as I write this, I’m feeling a little shallow. Living with five females, Rob has had to pretty much suck it down and watch whatever we have on. Currently we are all (including our very own 5x combat-experienced warfighter) immersed in the dramatic world of the Pretty Little Liars. During football season, we do watch the games with him and that makes him happy. Go Giants!

 

What compromises, bargains or deals do you work out to make sure your relationship stays on track?

30 thoughts on “Compromising Situations

  1. This post was hilarious! You offer a lot of good advice on marriage. People don’t realize it’s a lot of work! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  2. My husband and I say we stayed together because neither of us wanted the kids. That is a joke of course. We don’t always agree on everything, but we always listen and respect each other. Congratulations on sticking it out in a lifestyle not suited for many! You are a tough cookie! Thank your husband for serving!

  3. I enjoyed reading this 🙂 I’m an INFJ too and been married 23 years (together for 25). I actually don’t know what my husband’s personality type is, but I suspect it is the opposite of mine 🙂 My husband and I are very different but somehow it works. We seem to share core values and ideas about what is important in life, and that helps. But we’ve each had to do plenty of compromising to stay married all these years. We used to have some terrible fights and eventually I had to figure out how to calm down and he had to learn how to be nicer. Now we typically avoid disagreement by apologizing quickly and moving on. And I have learned to let stuff go… usually if I can ignore something I see that it wasn’t worth making a fuss over anyway.

      • Supposedly it’s a tiny percentage of people that are INFJ’s; but I read somewhere that the percentage of bloggers who were is higher 🙂 Which makes sense to me.

  4. First, you two are a sickeningly handsome couple.
    And next, this is a wonderful post and I like how you make the caveat that “Marriage is a long and twisty road, full of hills and valleys.”

    Ain’t that the truth! My wife and I in our short marriage (only five years) have come screaming down the hill toward the valley nearly wiping out into a fiery blaze of destruction but just before we get to that point, it always seems one of us pulls us out at the last minute.

    It’s taken some time but I think we’re finding our groove. Of course, as with anything, there is always more to learn.

    • Well thank you so much!! Maybe that’s what makes marriage worth it in the end…pulling out of the tailspin does provide a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention nausea!!!

  5. Such a great post! I love the advice and agree that more people should understand that marriage isn’t just playing house.
    I can’t speak from personal experience in terms of marriage, but I can say that I have a mother and father that have been together for 37 years who have set a great example for me and it sounds like you have done the same for your girls.
    I hope to one day be able to write an entry like this.

  6. It is interesting when I think of your question. I think I have just accepted my husband the way he is. There are things that annoy me, but I have no illusions about changing him. I thought long and hard before I married him if there was anything about him that I couldn’t live with and I asked him the same question. I told him there was no marrying someone and expecting them to change or to be changed. That is in the top 10 of why marriages fail. The expectation that the person you are marrying will change and become what you want. And there wasn’t. So, I guess there are compromises, but there aren’t really any deals or bargains. I am glad you and your husband have found ways to make your marriage work. Another reason marriages fail is that people don’t expect marriage to be as much work as it is. I applaud your commitment. 😀

    • You’re right, there’s no changing someone! Going into a marriage and expecting a change is a recipe for disappointment and unhappiness. Another thing to pass along to my daughters! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  7. I started to comment but it got way too wordy. I ended up writing what may be a post for my blog. I think I just had things I needed to say. Being divorced after 34 years and being in a new relationship, I have discovered so many wonderful things that can be. I watch and listen to people in marriages and relationships and have a hard time not rushing in and saying,”what the heck are you thinking”. I watch people lie and be dishonest. I hear them criticize and belittle. I see their lives crumbling. Life is tough sometimes as are marriages but they don’t have to be. Like you mentioned, so many things are so petty. Thanks for the post! You may see me post my thoughts soon.

  8. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows of married life. I married late in life, for the very first time, and although I knew it would be hard work, I really wasn’t expecing it to be that HARD! Re-assured that my marriage is normal. Blesings Joy x

  9. Hahaha. hilarious. enjoyed reading it. For me the best part was your husband’s picture (Are you mad at me) ? Good you found ways to be together and taken this journey together. 🙂

  10. The seat down and the empty toilet roll makes for a wonderful marriage. The best thing is knowing we can get away with it at home, but goodness gracious, should we do it when we’re visiting, gosh, then we’re talking about a world war here. I digress. Congrats on the almost 24 years. That’s amazing! 🙂

    • Ha ha! My 21 year old daughter had three male roommates at college last year and they NEVER left the seat up. She had a lot to say about this to her dad! Of course, he was super thrilled about the roommate situation. 🙂

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