Feminism Fodder

Compromise vs Acceptance

Recently I caught up with a couple of my school friends here. One got married last year and given that I hadn’t met her since, the topic obviously steered towards how she was finding married life. The other friend is not married yet but is planning to within the next year or so. The difference between the two is that the former’s marriage was arranged while the latter is in a relationship.

Anyway, my married friend had some words of advice for my other friend and me. She spoke about how there were things about married life that were very difficult — things which you would assume require communication and compromise — but then stated that in the end, you have to accept what your husband chooses to do. She said something along the lines that in order to make the marriage work, you have to accept everything and said that divorce is not an option in the Indian society because of how it negatively affects the families and the community. She also went on to say that sometimes when husbands get in a bad mood, they can say really mean things. But the way she said it, shocked my other friend and me as we assumed there was physical abuse occurring. She denied that but then in a matter-of-fact way said that the husband of a woman she works with does that. But apparently, the woman eventually told her parents who spoke to his parents who spoke to him and it no longer occurs.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And apparently, neither could my other friend. We spoke about how domestic violence was not acceptable in any way and that not all abusers change that easily.

I think though personally, what shocked me the most was the matter-of-fact tone in which she said it. Like it was acceptable. Like it was okay if a husband hit his wife when angry. And that too, all this coming from an educated working woman my age. What hope is there if educated women think that you have to accept all that your husband does? That compromise means acceptance from the wife rather than both parties reaching a middle ground? And while I understand there needs to be a level of acceptance in a relationship, there is a limit for that as well. For instance, accepting a quirk is one thing, accepting the fact that your partner can say mean things to you any time they wish is another.

Women and men need to learn the difference between compromise and acceptance. Compromise involves both parties making a concession. Like for example, if one partner is very clean to the point of being obsessive and the other is very messy, you reach a middle ground of cleanliness. On the other hand, acceptance involves just one party accepting what the other party does. So in other words, the obsessive neat freak accepting that the other partner is going to be messy but then possibly themselves just cleaning up.

And as far as issues such as domestic violence are concerned, there is no acceptance and no compromise. It is NOT acceptable under any circumstance.

Hopefully, there are more women like my other friend. Who knows where to draw a line. Who will stand up for themselves and call it quits when there is violence in a relationship.

Until next time,


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  • Spaceman Spiff
    14 June 2011 at 7:52 am

    It’s probably the same society that told her that divorce is a tabboo, that also told her that domestic violence is acceptable…
    Screw society.
    What about companionship? Love? A future? Why is marriage reduced to just compromises and acceptance?

  • Psych Babbler
    14 June 2011 at 10:41 am

    Exactly! There was hardly any talk about any of those other factors in a
    relationship…the more important factors! I jokingly told my friend that
    she shouldn’t opt for a career in motivational speaking because based on
    what she said, my other friend looked like she wanted to back out of the
    whole marriage thing! Welcome here Spaceman Spiff!

  • Itisnu
    14 June 2011 at 11:24 am

    you know there is a saying in Hindi: जुर्म करने वाले से जुर्म सहने वाला बड़ा दोषी होता है and that is apt for such woman who take it all from the husbands and ILs in the name of compromise and acceptance…no marriage is certainly not this!

  • Zradar
    14 June 2011 at 11:26 am

    Girls are often brought up as though acceptance is the way of life and marriage is the goal of life..So most of them do not realise when it crosses the line. It is even worser when the parents ask her to quietly accept it and give what her husband asks for.Atleast your friend was lucky to have parents who were on her side and in-laws who tried to advise the son.. Even the latter is a rare beed!! 

    A friend of mine happened to marry a pscho after his parents hid all dat away from hers’. She found him weird lotta times. There was lotta mental abuse. She found that when his parents came they gave him some tablet, after which his mental condition would be normal. A few of peace and it would reccur again.. She has a baby now, but has filed divorce. I think she is right because there could have been no aceptance or compromise in her case..

    We are what we are..And we can be only what we are, whether it is before marriage or after marriage… Here is my very own personal experience on marriage http://zradar.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/the-best-thing-about-marriage-2/

  • Jake
    14 June 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Its funny, people bitch and moan about how there is no world peace and then behave like primates at home. I’m not saying we don’t have animal instincts, but there’s a reason why we have reached this far and chimpanzees have not – our ability to reason in clinical terms evolution gave us BETTER brains !!!. 

    I don’t care who you are if the only way you know how to deal with a problem is by using your fist then you belong with the chimps.
    And that goes for everyone, So..

    MEN – stop hitting your wifes
    WOMEN – dont ever let men do it
    PARENTS – Stop hitting your kids

  • Aakash Johry
    14 June 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Agreed. I guess a relationship needs some compromise but from both ends. And it is really sad, that for girls who aren’t self-dependent as if they are not working are expected to surrender completely to the husband’s demands. It’s unfair and sad. I guess this is something that has been coming from generations but everything has to change and change for the good. Feel sad for your friend. 
    P.S.: Marriage suck and single-hood is AweSomE. 😀


  • Titaxy
    14 June 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I haven’t come across anyone tolerating physical abuse, not yet, but I know people who put up with emotional abuse, cheating, etc from the partner just in the name of society looking down at them / their parents in case they go for divorce. And no matter how much I try to tell those people that people talking about it for a while is no reason to put up with it, they do endure all these things in a very matter of factly way and look at me as if I am injecting some poisonous thoughts. And yes, all these very well educated men/women, who are financially independent, etc. And the worst case – they fool themselves that things will get better when they have kid(s) and go on to do just that…after which divorce becomes even more a farfetched thought. 🙁

  • Sportskeeda
    14 June 2011 at 3:28 pm

    do check out the sports blogging competition at Sportskeeda .. gr8 format and iPhone 4 up for grabs 

  • Deepthi
    14 June 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Yes marraige should’nt be reduced to just compromises….even if there are compromises,each of the partners should’nt feel that they have compromised,and that can be expected only if there is love…One must be really careful while choosing thier partner for life,only a sensible and broad minded person can realise and respect the feelings of their partner…..

  • Comfy
    14 June 2011 at 8:54 pm

    We all say mean things sometimes when we are angry but we also realize that it was the wrong thing to say and apologize for the same. But the simple statement that it is the expected thing is sad to hear. Because that can very easily turn in to mental abuse. And abuse in any for is not excepted. In a relation or a marriage.
    That she says it in a matter of fact way is where I would be worried.

  • Nilu
    15 June 2011 at 1:35 am

    Just read your message. Thanks a million!!!! Will definitely try what you said and let you know if it works.


  • Haresh Patel
    15 June 2011 at 7:21 am

    Compromise v/s Compulsion

    I guess even she knows that it’s not acceptable. But, she tells you (and to herself too) in order to convince herself that she is ‘ok’ with it and it’s ‘part and parcel’ of the game of marriage :-/

  • Haresh Patel
    15 June 2011 at 7:24 am

    Probably the title could be Compromise v/s compulsion…

    I guess even she know that it’s unacceptable. But, she wants to tell you (and to herself too) to convince herself that it’s acceptable and it’s part and parcel of the ‘game of marriage’

    As someone said above… the notion of ‘Divorce is a taboo, and domestic violence is acceptable’ is one of the root-causes

  • AS
    15 June 2011 at 12:03 pm

    yes, true but sadly in India, some 50% married ladies bear domestic abuse and this rate is 90% in Pakistan

  • D
    19 June 2011 at 7:27 am

    My cousin, who’s thankfully divorced, was married for a few months to a guy who used to physically abuse her. When the girl filed for divorce on those grounds, he defended himself with: ‘You hit a child when he errs, does not mean you don’t love the child. I slapped her a couple of times, but I love her.’ By that logic, I guess he’d be okay with his wife hitting him too. 

    Fortunately, nobody in the girl’s family bought his logic.