the not-so-happy medium

In relationships, it’s impossible to always agree about every single thing. Unless you’re in a relationship with just yourself, there will be many times when circumstances reveal differences in preferences, opinions, even moral standards. For these situations, it’s important to come to a compromise, to meet each other in the middle. Many call this the “happy medium.”

Ever notice how this medium is sometimes…not so happy? Sometimes, when two people want completely different things or are accustomed to such different standards, it’s hard for either person to bend. In order to come together, person A has to give in, which often makes them miserable. This in turn makes person B feel guilty for causing this misery, so they become defensive. Then person A doesn’t understand why person B is being defensive, especially since they’re already giving them what they want, so they become angry. Then person B doesn’t understand why person A would agree to give in if they were just going to be mad about it, so they become resentful. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

It’s confusing and ridiculous. It’s confusing because two people who love each other should be happy to make concessions for the other person, even when (or maybe especially when) it’s hard. It’s ridiculous because when someone does agree to make concessions for you, the logical reaction should be gratitude, not guilt. However, it’s a reality because people are people, vulnerable to extra baggage, prone to make melodramas out of such simple situations. I can’t speak for all of you, but  I know (and my husband knows) that I am like this. Not all the time, but I’m a work in progress. 🙂 

I’ve been reflecting on how I can make happy my not-so-happy mediums, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Humility – we compromise because we either want something or need something. Either way, the operative word is to “ask” – not demand, not expect. Ask. The compromise will be sweeter when you know it was achieved out of choice, not obligation.

2. Sincerity – when you agree to do something for someone, do it out of kindness and love. Don’t be one of those people who plays the martyr so you can make them feel guilty about it afterwards. Nothing good ever comes out of bad intentions.

3. Gratitude – if you’re on the receiving end of the compromise, always, always, always say thank you. Thank you for doing the dishes. Thank you for folding the laundry. Thank you for packing my lunch. Thank you for not resenting me when I’m a lazy, forgetful, inconsiderate mess. Gratitude is the antidote to weariness, and it’s necessary for those who are in it for the long haul.

4. Celebration – brag about it, dance in the rain, write songs, do what you want. Not everyone has the luxury of being loved by another person. Celebrate what your loved ones do for you, because whether they express it overtly or not, they do it out of love.

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