Marriage requires a lot of healthy compromise. It's important for spouse's to dream together, but based on our different personalities, one spouse's dream might seem more like a nightmare for the other.
For instance, my "dream" TV viewing is usually a sports event which is Ashley's "nightmare." Her dream TV viewing is a show on Lifetime or Bravo which is my "nightmare." We usually compromise with a TV drama like Law & Order SVU or House Hunters International (which scratches our travel itch when we're a long way off from a vacation).
Growing up, my Dad's "dream" home would have been a farm in the middle of nowhere which would have been my mom's "nightmare." Mom's "dream" home would have been (by Dad's exaggerated description) an apartment attached to the shopping mall, which would have been Dad's "nightmare." They compromised with a home on a five-acre lot on a rural road that was still accessible to the town and interstate.
Couples who make it work learn to compromise, because they've discovered the important truth that in marriage, there's never a "winner" and a "loser." You'll win together or lose together, so you must work together to find a solution.
You may be facing struggles in your marriage of much greater significance than what to watch on TV or which neighborhood to live in, but in every marital decision, these principles can help you find an ideal solution:
1. Value your principles over your preferences
In areas of principle (values, priorities, etc.) a husband and wife must be unified, but in areas of preference, there's almost always different perspectives. Work hard to agree on the main things (principles), but be willing to give a lot of grace and mutual submission when it comes to area of preference. The color you paint the living room really isn't worth fighting about.
2. Value intimacy over secrecy
When we're not "getting our way" in marriage, there's a temptation to develop some secret habits as a way to get what we want or in extreme circumstances it's done to "punish" our spouse. Those secrets can sabotage the intimacy of our marriage. Your marriage needs transparent and honest communication at all times, but especially in moments of disagreement.
3. Value your bride over your pride
This applies to valuing your husband over your pride too, but since bride rhymed, I went with it! Pride is perhaps the most toxic force in marriage. Swallow your pride and humbly serve your spouse. Your marriage will be better for it. "Humility" doesn't mean thinking less of yourself; it just means thinking of yourself less.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.