One big disagreement, whether or not to have children, dominates this blog. If he wants them and you don’t or vice versa, what do you do? Leave or suck it up and let them have their way. But that’s not the only thing couples disagree on.
For example, an article published in the Marin Independent Journal in California asked the question: “You love dogs, he doesn’t—can this relationship survive?” Now that’s a big question.
Having grown up in a pet-less household because my parents didn’t want to bother with furry offspring, when I got old enough to make my own choices, I adopted a cat and then a dog. I can’t imagine living without a furry housemate. Luckily, both husbands were pro-pet. But what if they weren’t?
What if you have reached some kind of truce on the baby question, but now she says no dogs, no cats, no pets, no way. How about birds? Nope. Maybe they’re not anti-pet, but they have asthma or severe allergies. You can’t walk a goldfish. You can’t hug a turtle. What do you do?
There are other big issues to disagree on. You want to buy a house; he’s happy renting an apartment. He wants to move across the country; you want to stay close to your family. You want to go back to school; he thinks it’s a waste of money. Your church is the center of your life; she doesn’t believe in God.
What do you do? Back in the 1950s and 60s, Ladies Home Journal Magazine published a monthly column titled “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” If these questions were posed back then, the columnist would probably tell the wife to do her wifely duty and surrender to her husband’s will. Things are a little different now. Husbands and wives are supposed to be equal. But when they disagree on major decisions, one may still ask “Can this marriage be saved?” Well, can it? Where is the line? What’s the deal-breaker? If you disagree about children, will you disagree about other important things? Does that make you incompatible or human?
I wish I had the answers to all these questions, but maybe only the people involved can answer them. Neither of my husbands went to church. I accepted that. I went back to school; Fred accepted that. I wanted a house, but didn’t get one until well into the second marriage; I accepted that.
Compromise is required of every relationship. He likes Brussels sprouts and you hate them. You cook them for him. You want to watch “The Bachelor” on TV, and he wants to watch Monday Night Football. You get two TVs or stream “The Bachelor” after the game. He wants to go to Las Vegas, and you want to go to Hawaii. You do Hawaii this year and promise to hit Vegas next year. You work it out.
Or you don’t. Such disagreements drive couples into therapy or at least to someone sleeping on the couch. If no one will give in, can the relationship survive?
What do you think? What will you compromise on, and what’s a deal-breaker? What if he doesn’t like dogs?