‘Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.’ (Jane Wells)

HOM: Managing impulsivity.

The quotation today comes from Marriage Advice in 1886 by Jane Wells. While aimed at advice for those entering marriage, it serves as a reminder that all our relationships of necessity must entail a degree of compromise, with each person giving concessions.

For relationships with colleagues, friends and family to be healthy and harmonious and because as individuals we will not agree on everything, then there will need to be a compromise or necessary sacrifice of some ‘wants’. Negotiating what we should/should not give up in any relationship to enable harmony may be demanding, and as Jane Wells recognised, can only be properly exercised within the framework of love. That involves the loving acceptance of the ‘other’ and some of their uncompromising aspects and vice versa! However, what it should never involve is a compromise of the dignity of either party.

The phrase ‘it is better to bend a little than to break’ is a visual representation of the strength in flexibility in relationships. Too much rigidity will cause a branch to snap and relationships to break. The ability to bend but retain one’s foothold and overall position will enable differences to be aired and expressed. This made me think especially of the art of parenting. Our ways of parenting needs to be age appropriate and change as our children mature, and the ability to bend a little while also maintaining stability will serve our families well.


Compromise is never easy but essential in a diverse world in which too many arguments are polarised. We cannot coexist without finding common ground, yet also negotiating our differences and sometimes being prepared to ‘bend a little’.

Christine Crossley