Are Relationships Compromises or Agreements?

Chris’s birthday was Sunday, so we celebrated by going to his favorite pizza place. He got a Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and I got a vegetable-heavy one with Daiya vegan cheese (so delicious!).

We have very similar values, senses of humor, political leanings, tastes in home décor, cleanliness standards, nerdy-ness, etc. But Chris and I still have a lot of differences—the biggest being that I’m a vegan and he’s not.

But we must have found a good way to make it work since we’ve been together for over a decade!

Along the way, we had to choose to either make compromises or make agreements.

To me, a compromise is when both parties meet each other half way. They each make concessions, and the time/chores/effort or other things are split 50/50.

An agreement is when a decision is made based on who is most capable or what outcome benefits them both the most. Things are not divided 50/50 nor mutually beneficial, necessarily.

This doesn’t mean that one way is better than another for romantic relationships, friendships, or families.

Sometimes you may want to compromise; sometimes you may want to make an agreement. Chris and I make changes based on how we’re doing or where our lives take us.

As for the vegan thing, we made an agreement.

Animal rights are hugely important to me and are not something I waver on. Before we moved in together, we agreed that we would have a vegetarian household—no meat in the house, ever.

This agreement has worked for us, but it’s not the same for everyone. Another vegetarian might have no problem cooking meat for her family and then serving herself a salad.

You gotta find what works for you!

Chris and I compromise when it comes to chores. I do all the laundry, and he handles all the trash. We both do the dishes.

We used to switch off all the chores, but I feel better when I do the laundry (my bras are delicate, you know!). And it’s easier for Chris to haul bags of garbage (macho, macho man!). In a way, that’s an agreement too!

As for our finances, sometimes we compromise and put the same amount of money down to the penny into our joint account. Then sometimes we make an agreement where Chris puts in more money because he earns more. It changes as our lives change.

We want our little family to be happy, functioning, and respectful.

And that’s something we can both agree on.

Are your relationships compromises or agreements? Both?

Is it different for your romantic relationships versus friendships?

People say Chris and I look alike. What do you think?

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  1. Brittany TYD on April 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    This was a really enlightening post! My boyfriend and I have been living together for 2 months now, and it has been a lesson in compromise/agreement/and realizing how selfish we both were after living alone for a REALLY long time.

    Thanks for the insight :).

  2. Tinfoil Tiaras on March 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Sage, we’re very similar on this issue- I’m a vegetarian (who’s been contemplating going vegan) and my man loves meat. I don’t like having meat in the house (and would never cook it) but we go out for many meals where he gets his meat fix. He’s very supportive and recently has been going to veggie/vegan cooking classes with me which I really appreciate. It would definitely be easier if we were both veggies but I’m not one for pushing my values on others. We’ve only been together 2 years so I’m glad to hear it’s doable for the long haul!

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      I’m glad your man is so supportive! That’s made all the difference in my relationship. Chris gets his meat fix when we eat out too, but I don’t want meat on my plates or in my fridge.

      My advice is to keep communicating. Talk about your preferences before you get married and have kids. Who knows how your relationship will evolve? Talking about your values will help you be a stronger, respectful family.

      I think you’ve got the right attitude. 🙂

      As for the vegan thing, maybe try eating vegan for 1 day a week and see how you feel? I tend to eat more protein on my workout days, which seems to keep my energy up.

  3. Molly on March 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Happy Birthday, Chris!

    Mike and I are both vegan, but we have had to work out various things in our relationship. We’ve had both compromises and agreements, which have worked very well for us so far (12 years together this July!). The hardest thing for us to come to agreements on were raising my stepsons together, but even that has worked out pretty well.

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Wow, 12 years! Congrats! That’s wonderful.

      Raising kids must change everything. Chris and I chose not to have kids (something we talked about before moving in together). That’s one thing I can’t offer advice on–when kids are in the picture. How has it been making decisions as a family?

      • Molly on March 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm

        We chose not to have kids of our own, too, although we did consider it for a little while. At first it was hard for us because we didn’t always agree on everything, but now we do. We would have definitely moved to the Southwest by now, so having them changed that decision. It also made us decide to get a larger house since we were so cramped in our last one.

  4. Megan Gann on March 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I think relationships are a thing all on their own. It’s a give and take, compromise and agreement. I think you really have to find the right person. Dating is one thing, but living with somebody is a whole nother ballgame.

    Four years in, the Taller Half and I are still sussing out what works for us, but we also know it’s going to change up a bunch as we leave college, get jobs, move, etc. We’re doing lots of heavy duty discussion on how to make that transition and still maintain some of our current balance, but also be prepared to take the imbalance for each other as well.

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Living with someone is REALLY different. There’s no hiding your quirks anymore. But there’s also something comforting about having someone to come home to.

      I’m glad you and your husband are talking about your goals before you leave college. Chris and I had a ton of conversations before we moved in together, and it made things easier later. And of course, we still had to figure stuff out along the way.

      You sound like you’ve got a good attitude about making your relationship work. Good advice!

  5. xvavaveganx on March 26, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Happy Birthday to Chris! This is a really great post to put things into perspective and really clarify some of the most difficult parts of a relationship. Definitely a lot of really valuable information in here! 🙂

    It’s really funny, I’ve only ever dated omnis. Funny how that works out…well doesn’t work out I guess! Although it’s not because they are omnis, it’s because they were losers 😉

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Oh, I’ve dated plenty of losers back in the day…and one was veggie, so you never know!

      I used to think that I’d never marry someone who wasn’t a vegetarian, but Chris and I work together so well that it became less important. He’s actually made me a more tolerant person.

      I think everyone should have deal breakers (like no abusive guys or druggies), but we all have to choose what’s negotiable for long-term relationships.

  6. Undead QB on March 26, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Thank you to my amazing, wonderful wife for a great birthday. And BTW, I am more of Nacho, Nacho Man!!

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 9:08 am

      You’re a dork, and I love you!

  7. Cara on March 26, 2012 at 6:37 am

    It’s funny, I’ve never really thought about the difference between compromises and agreements in a relationship but they are indeed different, yet equally important to a relationship. We split chores, whoever cooks dinner is relieved from clean up duty and my husband is in charge of vacuuming and trash removal and I do the rest. Hope your week is off to a beautiful start!

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      I used to want everything to be 50/50, but we’ve been happier when we’re flexible. Sometimes situations favor one person over the other and that’s OK!

      My week had a bit of a rough start, but getting sweet comments like yours makes my day a little brighter. 🙂

  8. Jennifer Delle Fave on March 26, 2012 at 6:33 am

    First of all, those pizzas look deeelish!! Happy Birthday to your man!! I think you’re right, that it’s a little bit of all of that! I think the most important element is communication. If you don’t talk about what’s on your mind/what you’re feeling, then it’s never going to work. The whole chore thing never worked for us either (I am with ya on the bras!) Clearly, when we chose for me to stay home, that has been the biggest decision we’ve made and I’d have to say one of the best…next to actually getting married. I am loving your posts lately; so thought-provoking and great conversation pieces! Have a wonderful day!!

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      I’m a little obsessive about my bras and other delicates. 🙂

      I’m so glad you’re liking my posts! I hope I’m connecting with people, and it’s nice when I get good feedback.

  9. Shybiker on March 26, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Every couple is different. I’m glad you found what works for you and Chris.

    I believe that if both participants are motivated enough, they can overcome any obstacle. Sometimes we need to examine our past to see what psychological baggage we’re bringing into the relationship but that can be a good thing.

    • Sage on March 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      I like to think that Chris and I can overcome any obstacle. So far, so good!