Many couples are driven by a unity of purpose and an abiding commitment to one another in the hectic challenges of planning their wedding. But sometimes as they get closer to the actual day the cracks of anxiety, stress and tension begin to show. At times one or other can become deeply entrenched on a particular issue and insist on having it their way. This can become an uncomfortable and upsetting experience for the partner who has yielded to the deeply rooted stance of the other. Fortunately such incidents are usually short lived as the vitality of the loving relationship and the desire to make up can overcome any lingering feelings of hurt. But such deeply held differences of approach, and the inability to compromise or change can sometimes indicate the possibility of future problems for the couple.
So perhaps couples preparing for marriage ought to reflect on how they can accommodate change and compromise within their shared lives? After all marriage is a loving union of two individuals from different worlds who will have experienced different family backgrounds, different behavioural, environmental, educational, social and, in some cases, cultural influences in their respective lives. The merging of these two traditions will inevitably involve total acceptance of one another in the first instance, tolerance and appreciation of difference and the desire and capacity to adapt, compromise and change. So the question that arises for each partner is how have I historically accommodated change and compromise in my life to date? This quest will involve an approach of honesty and clarity in reflecting how self-aware each partner has become of himself/herself.
In many instances the awareness of self in accommodating change and compromise will take each partner back to their family of origin. How was change accommodated in my family? How did my parents mirror accommodation of change and were they willing to compromise? How adaptable was I to accommodating change and compromise with my siblings, school friends, work colleagues and social friends in life? Have I been historically resistant to change and what is the source of that resistance? Am I carrying that resistance into my loving relationship?
Resistance to change and inability to compromise are deeply connected to issues of security for many people. We have possibly become addicted to routine and change can threaten that sense of stability? We may have become creatures of habit and we do not want to change our routine because we fear it will unsettle our sense of self. We may even revert to the family mantra:“This is how we always did it at home and that’s good enough for me”But we need to honestly ask ourselves: does accommodating change and embracing compromise threaten me? Does it affect my sense of security?
Resistance to change may be evident in decision-making for some couples; in other relationships it be evident in behaviours, attitudes, assumptions and values. Perhaps you can readily accept and accommodate change within your own life but you constantly meet resistance when discussing issues of change with your partner?
Discuss with each other how you feel you will accommodate change and compromise in your marriage! Address the areas each of you might find difficult about change! Agree an approach together that will help you share and confide in each other the aspects of change and compromise that may prove difficult within marriage!
The Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service marriage preparation course, “Marriage – A Journey Not a Destination” offers an extensive series of activities around issues relating to the preparation for marriage. For further information visit:www.accord.ie