Marriage and compromise: ‘It’s about keeping it in perspective’
Sure, Monika Tuell doesn’t understand why her husband won’t brew strong coffee to make her happy, and Randy Tuell doesn’t understand why his wife won’t drink weak coffee to make him happy, but 16 years of marriage has taught the couple one thing about their differing caffeine needs: Who cares?
The Tuells, several other local couples and local psychotherapist Donna BE offered insight into why it’s OK for couples to have differing tastes and how refusing to compromise those tastes can be acceptable in a loving marriage.
“It’s about keeping it in perspective,” said BE, who has been practicing for 36 years after getting a master’s degree in psychology in 1975. Relationship counseling is one of her specialties at BEing There Counseling, 823 Mease Road.
The Tuells, along with Buck and Julie Hinkson and Matthew Breman and Catherine Norton Breman, agreed with BE.
The Tuells have realized it is better for them to not compromise on coffee and, instead, just get their own cups.
“When you share your heart with your spouse or children, all the little things are truly just that,” said Monika Tuell, the director of business operations at Rocky Mountain Health Plans.
Coffee isn’t the only thing the Tuells have decided not to compromise on. Pizza toppings is another.
Monika Tuell loves black olives. Randy Tuell, director of sales and marketing for White Mountain Operating LLC, does not.
So when the couple orders pizza, her half has pepperoni and black olives and his half has bell peppers and ham.
When the couple orders for themselves and their four children, who don’t care about the toppings, they get two large pizzas.
Although neither will compromise on pizza toppings, the Tuells also have not let it become a contentious issue.
“It goes to how you treat each other,” BE said.
In today’s society, BE added, there are misconceptions about compromise in marriage.
Words such as compromise, negotiate and defer suggest both husband and wife must give up what they want to find happiness, she said. They become “power tools” in a marriage because one person may get his or her way more than the other.
“You can’t use power tools to cultivate intimacy,” said BE, who has been married to her husband Stephan for more than 36 years. “It’s about learning how to emotionally connect, which cultivates intimacy.”
BE works with couples and individuals to find ways to emotionally connect with others.
Then, there are couples such as Buck and Julie Hinkson who have figured out after 10 years of marriage that each person’s quirks make them unique.
“Accommodating quirks is endearing,” said Julie Hinkson, executive director for United Way of Mesa County.
Julie Hinkson feeds her cats leftover cereal milk with a spoon. She loves them and won’t stop even though her husband doesn’t even think cats belong in the house.
Buck Hinkson, a surveyor with Wasatch Surveying, squeezes the toothpaste tube however he wants, but Julie Hinkson prefers to squeeze from the bottom and roll the tube up as she goes.
So they have separate toothpaste tubes.
“Am I willing to create a huge ball of resentment over something that can be ignored?” Buck Hinkson asked.
His answer was no.
Cranium 360 owner Matthew Breman and his wife of 12 years, Catherine Norton Breman, have reached a similar answer.
With a law background as legal and business counsel for Allen Unique Autos, Norton Breman could turn most things into a negotiation session, with the odds stacked heavily in her favor.
But that’s not how things play out in the Bremans’ home.
Instead, Breman uses Irish Spring bar soap, and Norton Breman uses Dove.
They agree to disagree on some things.
For example, Breman won’t allow a TV in their bedroom and Norton Breman doesn’t want to see mayonnaise in her home.
Then they move on to more important things such as loving each other and taking care of their son.
“Evaluate what’s important,” Breman said.
“Being nice to each other goes a long way.”