The Differences Between Compromise & Sacrifice In A Relationship
OK, so here's my confession for the day. While I don't get to check either of these out on a consistent basis (probably because my mind is trying to retain brain cells), two guilty pleasures of mine are 90 Day Fiancé (the one that comes on Sundays; they've got too many now to keep up with which is which) and Love After Lockup. There really is no justification or excuse; I just think that, as someone who works in the field of relationships so much, sometimes the dynamics on there fascinate me.
Take Angela (the older white woman from Georgia) and Michael (the younger African from Nigeria) on 90 Day, for example. First, I really need there to be more deep dives done on the topic of fetishizing; yes, it is very possible for a person to be with someone of another ethnicity and still be disrespectful AF to that person's culture, if not flat-out racist. Second point—there are a lot of women out here who claim to be Bible followers, will push back on submitting to their husband (umm, even though it's in the Bible—Ephesians 5 and Colossians 2) yet will turn around and emasculate their husband to the point where they basically want him to submit to them (check out "Are You His Partner Or His Second Mama?"). That's Angela in a nutshell. SMDH.
Over on WE tv, there's a particular couple on this season of Love After Lockup that, in many ways, inspired this piece. Their names are Quaylon and Shavel. If you know anything about the show, it's about people who fall for folks who've been in prison who then try and make the relationship work, once their partner gets out. My first love was in and out of the system for years so, I get how it can happen. Anyway, when I watched an episode when Shavel spent $5,000 of her hard-earned money to get Quaylon a truck as her play-brother looked at her like "WTF?!", and I then reflected on the times when I spent a lot of my own money in relationships, along with the clients I've counseled who've done the same, I figured that now was as good a time as any to address the difference between compromising in a relationship (necessary) and sacrificing (oftentimes unhealthy). Because, unfortunately, not getting that there is a difference between the two is an epidemic that's transpiring, both on and off of the tube. (Again, SMDH.)
All Successful Relationships Require Compromise
An author by the name of Donna Martini once said something about the art of compromise (in a relationship) that I really like. She said:
"Compromise is not about losing. It's about deciding that the other person has just as much right to be happy with the end result as you do."
Shoot, this alone is one of the reasons why some people aren't mature enough to be in a relationship; they are so consumed with what they want to get and who needs to make them happy, that they don't factor in if their partner is feeling fulfilled in the process. Hell, sometimes I wonder if they even care.
So, what are some clear indications that you're good at compromising in a relationship?
Compromisers are good listeners. It's not about them always needing to get the last word in or speaking over their partner. They genuinely want to know where their partner is coming from so that communication is effective.
Compromisers are compassionate. A compassionate individual is someone who notices the suffering (or even just distress) of another individual and strives to do what they can to alleviate it. They aren't apathetic; they are sympathetic and even try to be empathetic to their partner's needs where possible.
Compromisers are humble. Humility in a relationship is a true superpower because it means that you're not interested in being right all of the time, you can admit when you're wrong, you will be quick to apologize when you've offended your partner or you made a mistake, and you're open to seeing another perspective, even if it couldn't be further from your own.
Compromisers are flexible. I was recently talking to my nine-year-old goddaughter about how she wants her future husband, wedding and marriage to be. I must say that, for her age, she was extremely eloquent. However as she was going down the list, when I asked her, "What about your husband's opinions?", she said what a lot of grown single women have said to me as well—"His opinion doesn't matter." Lord. Compromisers aren't so bossy, so rigid, and/or so determined for everything to go their way all of the time, that they aren't able to bend if it results in both people being happy and both parties coming to a peaceful resolution.
Compromisers are solutions-oriented. At the end of the day, a compromiser is all about finding solutions and cultivating peace. It's not about conceding all of the time, but it is about not being so bull-headed and opinionated that mountains come out of molehills and then those mountains are the very ones that they are willing to die on…even if that means dying alone.
Bottom line, compromisers live by the motto that they would rather that they and their partner be happy together than be right (at least in their own mind) all by themselves. Compromisers are the kind of people who tend to have lasting relationships because they know that healthy dynamics require give and take on both sides.
Sometimes BOTH PEOPLE Need to Make Sacrifices
OK, so now that we've broken down a little bit of what it means to be a relational compromiser, let's spend a little bit of time exploring what it means to go to, what some would consider to be, the extreme side of compromising—making sacrifices in a relationship. To be honest with you, sacrifice is not a dirty word. In the context of what we're talking about today, it simply means that you are willing to give up something good for something even better.
A good example of a relational sacrifice is perhaps turning down a job in one city because your partner just proposed, you accepted, and you both have really good jobs where you currently are. However, peep that I said that the man proposed marriage (and you accepted). I know that, because I've made big sacrifices for boyfriends or even situationships, and also, because I'm now a marriage life coach, I don't really jump up and down about those types of situations. Why? Because if you're willing to give up something awesome, it doesn't need to be for the hope that something better might happen. There needs to be some sort of guarantee (at least, as much as there can be a guarantee). Sacrificing for a man who pledged to marry you is different than sacrificing for a guy you've been kicking it with for a while.
That's why Shavel (from Love After Lockup) stands out to me. After dating a man in prison (which really isn't dating and, believe you me, there is nothing like getting a "jail letter" because when folks are incarcerated, they don't have much to do other than think…a lot) for a few years, the first thing she does is buy him a vehicle and prepare a place for him to stay? Meanwhile, what has he done? Hell, what is he even capable of doing? It's not about him having a prison record (we know how a lot of our Black men end up with those); it's about him needing time to readjust to society and figure out how to take care of himself before even entertaining getting married or helping Shavel raise her daughter.
See, what Shavel is doing? It's not so much sacrificing as it is taking a gamble on her relationship. She's not merely giving up something wonderful for something that can top it; it's more like she's giving all that she has, in hopes that it will pay off. And when we get to this kind of point and place in our relationship with someone, especially when they are not reciprocating with these same types of gamble/sacrifices, that's when we know that we're entering into some very risky and, to be honest, unhealthy behaviors.
Too Much One-Sided Sacrificing Is Unhealthy
When I look back on, more than half of my relationships/situationships, if there's a main thing that I regret, it's that I acted like a wife in most of them—at least to some degree—while many of them weren't even really boyfriends. What I mean by that is, that when I give of myself, I typically give my all. Whatever a man needs, I am going to figure out how to make it happen and/or support him in ways that can oftentimes cause me to neglect my own needs or wants. Then, when things don't work out, many times, I don't have much to show for it. Hmph. That's why, I actually have a shirt that says, "I don't need closure. I just need my ex to give me my money back." That's not a cute graphic tee. That's for real, for real.
And when your own needs end up going by the wayside, continually so? That's how you can know when you're sacrificing, far more than you ever should. It's when the good thing that you're giving up is actually huge chunks of yourself. It can be chunks of your checking account, chunks of your self-worth, chunks of your heart—anything that, if the relationship ended right now, not only would you be devastated, you'd also be severely in lack.
Not hurt or inconvenienced; I mean that, on some level, you would be close to destitute. When you've entered into this portion of the program, you are not merely "bending" in order to meet your partner halfway. No, what you are doing is giving up so much of yourself that it can actually break you…or break you into pieces.
So, if you're currently in a relationship and you think that what you're doing is compromising, but there is something in the back of your mind that's saying something along the lines of, "Bay-bay, you are giving up the best parts of you and nothing better is gonna take their place"—please take some steps back. You're not compromising, sis. What you are doing is sacrificing to the ultimate extreme. And again, the thing about a "good sacrifice" is it's worth it. You don't have to gamble or guess…you already know. Your partner has made sure that you do. How can you know? Because he's out here making sacrifices too.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Unsplash
- How To Not Lose Yourself In Love - xoNecole: Women's Interest ... ›
- The Difference Between Loving A Man & Being "Needy" For Him ›
- Is It More Important To Be Respected Or Liked? - xoNecole ... ›
- Are You Compromising, Sacrificing, Conceding or Resenting ... ›
- 5. Marriage Necessitates Sacrifices That Dating Does Not - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Does Love Involve Sacrifice or Compromise? | Psychology Today ›
- What is the difference between compromise and sacrifice? - Quora ›
- What is Sacrifice? What is Compromise? | Relationship Tips ... ›
- Sacrifice Vs. Compromise In A Relationship: Here's The Super ... ›
- Healthy Relationships: The Art of Compromises, Not Sacrifices ... ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy
It appears that LeToya Luckett is off the market. The songstress, who got divorced from Tommicus Walker in 2021, surprised her Instagram followers when she uploaded a Reel of how she spent Valentine’s Day. The video was a collage of roses, rose petals in the shape of a heart, dinner, and LeToya walking down a hallway with a man walking behind her. While she didn’t give any further details about who was in the video, she did stop by the Tamron Hall Show and shared that she was in a great place.
“I will say that I am daily, I am spoiled with kindness. I am spoiled with peace. I am spoiled with support. I am spoiled with consistency, love,” she said. “And I have to give it to myself first. But the fact that God saw fit to put it in a form of a man, I won’t complain.”
While we don’t know much else about her new bae, it seems that he is making the mother of two very happy. LeToya went on to share how her new relationship has put her in a blissful state and she finally feels stability.
“You know what, I'm very happy. I have so much peace, y'all. I have so much peace. I'm happy,” she gushed. “And I’ve never really been in this space before because I felt like even since a kid, I've been moving around, trying to figure it out. And then, you know, getting married, having kids, going through a divorce, and moving– it was a lot. You know, and I feel like I'm finally in a place where I'm stable. I'm stable, and I feel good.”
But that’s not all she talked about. The “Torn” singer and Tamron also talked about the importance of having self-esteem and self-worth. LeToya’s Instagram page is filled with stylish photos of the singer, family photos, and positivity. She also has had many exciting career ventures, such as starring in the upcoming BET+ thriller One Night Stay, and most recently hosting TV One’s Urban Honors.
However, when it comes to how she lives her life, she remembers the things her mom taught her, such as turning lemons into lemonade.
“So, you know the world is going to deal you the cards, right? But you have to figure out how you're gonna play them. And it starts with you. It starts with you,” she said.
“I am so glad that I watched my mom do that. And she was the example of that because it taught me that regardless of what happens, what type of lemons life deals you, you've got to turn it into lemonade. You got to make sure your side of the street is clean. Regardless of what everybody else is doing or saying. You got to make sure that you're together, that you believe in yourself. You can't go expecting people to love you, people to respect you, and treat you a certain way. If you don't respect yourself.”
Feature image by Prince Williams/WireImage