no compromise?

Yesterday, in a message to Heather's mother (who had questions about my "language of no compromise" in a recent post), I wrote:

Your point about the need for flexibility, the willingness to change in marriage, is well taken. I agree. And I have been taught something about this already by Heather. Early in our relationship we ran into an argument in which we both took firm stands. But I soon noticed that the argument became especially important to Heather as a test of whether I could change, something she was becoming concerned about. This confused me (as it seemed unconnected to the point under discussion), and I resisted.

But she can be quite persistent (some might even call it stubbornness—she may even be as stubborn as I am). She felt this issue of changeability was so important that she even spoke of breaking off the relationship, and took off for Wheaton for the day. This really shook me. I struggled and struggled with myself, getting more desperate and confused. I got so desperate, in fact, that I went to Helen for counsel. I knew she wasn't very enthusiastic about our relationship at the time, but I needed to talk to someone who knew Heather better than I did. To my relief, Helen responded gently, and talking to her somehow provided what I needed to see the situation—and myself—more clearly. I quickly went and wrote a letter of apology to Heather, admitting that I had been wrong in our argument (and even that what she had been urging was actually a word from God to me to bring me back to my truer self) and left it on her desk to find when she got back from Wheaton. That was one of the longest nights I've ever suffered through; she got home late and didn't see the letter until the next morning. But it was pivotal in our relationship. And it has been repeated on a number of occasions (with a bit less difficulty) during the past few years.

Regarding the "language of no compromise," I'll just say that I think change is not exactly the same as compromise, as I understand it. I understand compromise to mean two parties at an impasse who then each begin to lower their expectations (or ideals or demands, etc) until a point is reached which both parties can accept, though it is probably much less than each hoped for. This I find very problematic when it comes to anything relating to the following of Jesus (who lived extremely high ideals and never lowered them).

But there can still be change that is not a compromise. When I changed in that argument with Heather, I did not consider it a compromise. I felt that she had shown me a better way, a higher path, than I had known previously. So I followed her lead, not simply to please or satisfy her, but because I realized that she was closer to where God was taking us at that moment. I've also followed her lead in other areas, recognizing that God has given her insights and strengths that I do not have, so I can lean on her as we move out of my comfort zone, doing things I have not been willing (or able) to try before. These forms of change (perhaps called repentance and growth) are very good and important, and not at all compromise (they raise our expectations and ideals, not lower them), and I expect these to be a continual part of our relationship.