I know a lot of guys and girls who have settled in their relationships. They were afraid nothing else was coming. They got comfortable. They found out details about their significant other long after they began dating and made excuses because they were already attached and scared of starting over. And some just plain ignored the red flags along the way.
However, I also know many individuals who have lived their entire lives so afraid that they would accidentally settle for someone that they in turn had no idea how to compromise once they actually got into a relationship. They mistakenly thought that compromising, which is a natural and healthy part of EVERY relationship we have on this earth, meant that they were somehow settling for less.
Neither of these is healthy. Neither of these is God’s design for relationships.
So let’s take a look at the discrepancies between the ideas of settling and compromise.
To begin, healthy compromise does NOT mean moral compromise. For example, if you have been dating someone for awhile and do not have the same views on premarital sex, a compromise is not saying you will have sex after 12 months when you really believe in waiting for marriage. That’s called giving in. That’s called settling. And that is not the kind of healthy compromise I am referring to.
Although a compromise IS defined by the merging of two different ideas, there are core foundational beliefs that we should never allow to be compromised. Faith beliefs, morals, standards, and who Jesus is in our lives should never be tapered to the individual we are dating. These are foundational truths not up for negotiation. Once we begin to compromise our foundations, the structure of our lives begins to crumble, and we are eventually left waiting for the dust to SETTLE before we can rebuild again. (Excuse my terrible play on words.)
So what does a healthy compromise look like?
A healthy compromise usually begins with a predicament where both parties envisioned something a little different than the other one.
If you should take a job out of state.
When/where you will get married.
The list could go on forever because every day we are faced with situations that are not necessarily our ideal. But this is where we can get into trouble. Just because a situation does not seem ideal, does not necessarily mean that the other person is no longer your ideal. This is where compromise comes into play.
We all have a different list of non-negotiables, preferences, likes, and dislikes. I’m not here to talk you out of them. We all find different things attractive and different scenarios work for different people.
I am, however, urging you to evaluate the difference between compromising and settling. Settling is bad. Settling begins when you do not believe that you will get what you truly want. Settling begins when you opt for the immediate rather than the ultimate. Settling says, “Okay God, I know you said that your plans for me are innumerable and greater than I can imagine, but I’m not really trusting you to deliver that to me in your perfect timing. So I guess I will go with Plan B because, well, I can see it. It’s right here, and I can have it now. So I’ll make do.”
Compromise too recognizes that no one is perfect and that we all have differences. However, compromise chooses a healthy route of communication and prayer to dissolve the differences so that two who were separated can come together on tough issues.
Settling takes that same idea only extends it to your “non-negotiable” areas. Areas that you KNOW were never meant to be compromised, whether it is because they are biblical principles or because you simply know that there are specifics that simply do not match up with your personalities and goals.
Settling means not waiting for God’s hand-crafted relationship for you. Settling does NOT mean throwing away that handcrafted relationship because they would prefer a one-story house verses a two-story house. That’s an issue that requires a healthy compromise.
Bottom line? God does not want you to simply “make do.” He wants to deliver your future spouse to you; wait on His timing. God has not commissioned you to settle. God has commissioned you to trust in Him, and allow Him to guide you through the compromises that will inevitably need to take place later in that relationship. Compromises do not mean that you have settled. God isn’t giving you a relationship with a robot drone that has no opinions other than the ones you give them. God created another person, with likes and dislikes, preferences, beliefs, hopes, dreams, and goals unique to themselves. Take care of them, love them, get to know them, and compromise with them. But do NOT settle for just any “them.”