Whether you're dating, engaged, or married, part of discerning the path of growth for the relationship is with the inevitable conversation about the future. On the second date with my now-husband, we sat down at a booth in the diner in my hometown. We ordered cheesecake and coffee. As soon as it was served he asked me, with the biggest smile on his face, where I saw myself living in my lifetime; where I wanted to call home. The conversation lasted hours, and the cheesecake stood guard as we imagined our lives together in places we both loved. That conversation set the tone for many of the decisions we made as a couple in the first years of our life together.
Flash forward to seven years later, and we are finding it time to ask ourselves that question again. Now, we don't need to discuss places per se, but non-negotiables that make us feel most at home wherever our zip code may be. We shared our top three needs, and to our surprise they had little overlap. If we listed the top five, there was a greater chance of commonalities, but nevertheless it showed us two things. The first, that we require different components from our space and community to garner stability and support. The second, that we need to live a spirit of compromise.
When we married, we married forever; until death do us part, but seriously. Our love for each other deepens each time we sacrifice something so the other can bloom, and that fuels us. The spirit of compromise is to actively acknowledge that not every need will be met at every moment, but that the greater good is to support each other as best we can. Sometimes, that means giving up one of the top three non-negotiables, other times that means fighting for your non-negotiables because you know it will make you happier in the long run. Even in the midst of discussing the things we both want in life, we realize that neither of us will reap one hundred percent of what we most desire.
How we see our lifetime reflects the mysteries buried deepest in our hearts. If the one you love came to you with one of those mysteries, wouldn't you revere it? Carry it in your heart with the attitude of abundance? The spirit of compromise does just that. When we communicate our desired trajectory to each other, it's a lot like drawing up a blueprint of a structure. Buildings need lights, plumbing and electricity-- the non-negotiables that comprise the infrastructure, but every building has variants in the size of the rooms, the height of the ceilings, and the layout of the space. Be willing to present what you need emotionally, spiritually, and physically with authenticity and candor, and encourage your partner to do the same so that your blueprint is a plan for mutual success and long-term happiness.