The first rule of a healthy relationship is to realize it is not all about me!  Everything cannot be done my way!  The house will not always be the way I want it to be. The way we handle the children may not always go my way. The plan I had for managing our money may not go my way. I could go on and on, but it comes down to realizing that we will not always get everything our way.  A “my way only” attitude is really unhealthy for a relationship. A relationship needs to be built on give and take and working together.

Compromise means to find the middle ground or the mediation point. Similar yet different than compromising is collaboration. Collaboration means to come up with a new way to handle the difficult situation where both sides win. It is more than just give and take; it actually deals with finding a new path and looking for the win-win solution for all involved. Collaboration is also stagnated when one is stuck on pride. However, if we cannot find the ability to compromise nor to collaborate, then we are constantly jeopardizing the longevity of our relationships. Most couples recognize that it is not wise nor does it demonstrate love when pride dominates the relationship.  Certainly, when you have two prideful people, the issues become doubly difficult to overcome. In most cases, the issue revolves around each person wanting their way and not being willing to compromise. In other words, pride contaminates the communication flow. Thoughtful, helpful, and clear communication is almost impossible to regain when pride dominates the relationship. Two people looking out for their own interests are not very productive.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.  Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV)

Marriage should be about two people coming together to help each other find happiness in life.  Marriage requires looking beyond ourselves; it requires us to see the needs of the other in our life.  Unconditional love gives us the ability to collaborate and compromise because it causes one to see that they are no better than their spouse. I actually love sacrificing my needs for my wife–it feels great to be honest to see her happy. While pride will cause one to think and believe they are better than their spouse, regulated pride will cause one to see their spouse as equal in value, if not, more. Unconditional love swallows up pride because the very essence is to want better for those they are in relationship with. Unconditional love allows us to slow down and see what’s the best solution for the relationship.  How will you build your marriage?  Will it be full of pride and selfishness or will it be a grace filled relationship built on sacrifice and unconditional love?  The choice is yours!

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