Compromise is one of those warm, fuzzy words that sound eminently reasonable. In reality, it is a tool that works extremely well in certain situations and is useless in others. You enjoy partying while your spouse craves quiet evening at home? A compromise that sometimes has you both surrounded by friends and has the two of you together in front of your fireplace at other times is a great idea. You can work out additional details such as occasional extra socializing for you (with same gender friends, please) or perhaps having only one other couple over, but this is the type of issue that a marriage can tolerate.
What if you think that affairs spice up a marriage and your spouse believes in monogamy? Agreeing to limit affairs to once a year or agreeing to emotional but not physical adultery or physical but not emotional adultery isn’t going to cut it. There is no compromise possible on this issue, just as having half a child if one spouse wants children and the other doesn’t simply isn’t a feasible solution.
Sometimes, compromises temporarily hide an unsolvable difference but they leave the underlying friction festering. The Missouri Compromise of 1820, attempting to balance slave and free states, may have postponed the Civil War, but it didn’t eliminate slavery as an issue. In the final analysis pro and anti slavery advocates could not share a country.
I was pretty young during the turmoil of the Sixties. Reading about what went on during that time makes me think that many people were probably very pessimistic about the future of America. Yet, not only is America still around, but there have been good years and many flourishing times since then.
However, some of the ‘advances’ of those years, such as the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision are still sources of agitation. That ruling not only honored an activity that huge numbers of Americans see as morally reprehensible but also set a precedent for Justices to ‘find’ non-existent rights in the Constitution based on their personal views. In the final analysis, compromise isn’t possible when it comes to certain core values.
When compromise isn’t feasible, people reject their government. Certainly, large numbers (a third, a half, more than that?) of voters who are registered as Republicans spurn the party to which they nominally belong. While nobody right now is running as a third party candidate, an internal Republican third party already exists. Meanwhile, large numbers (a third, a half, more than that?) of Democrats reject the founding principles of this country, such as free speech and freedom of religion—specifically for Christians. Do these schisms represent differences that cannot be resolved, those areas where compromise is not possible? I simply do not know. Heading into 2016 we are certainly at a time of history where each of us needs to examine ourselves and discover where we take an uncompromising stand.
Wishing you all a year of health, joy, peace and prosperity. I’d be honored if you would read my husband’s letter regarding our organization, the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.