Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
All of us who marry carry our parents into that relationship, even deceased parents. Their worldview, relational patterns, expectations, and the way they load the dishwasher. They are little life coaches in our brains, giving orders and suggestions and criticisms, telling us how to see the world and react to it—whether to recycle or change our décor every few years. Although we tinker to make personal adjustments to that worldview, marriage is the first wholesale challenge to it.
When that challenge comes, we can either blindly insist on our own views, stay anchored to our upbringing, or we can choose to set sail on a new and often scary adventure, committed to a new way of becoming in intimate connection with our spouse. Compromise is a good relational coping tool to manage our differences, but like all coping mechanisms, it should be used as a crutch to help heal what is broken, not to avoid healing.
Compromise is a behavioral adjustment that bypasses the hard work of honestly evaluating our own perspective. “Her fears are stupid, but I will accommodate them,” and “He’s doing that all wrong, but I’ll keep quiet,” may help avoid conflict but do not build understanding and empathy or challenge our own views. When faced with honesty, humility, and courage, the marriage relationship is the greatest resource for personal transformation and true intimacy. Those little parental voices in our heads need to be recognized and confronted to free us to become fully ourselves as God designed us to be.