“Compromise is what binds people together. Compromise is sharing and conciliatory, it is loving and kind and unselfish.”
Compromise is vital in any relationship. Compromise is the building block that makes two different people a single unit – a team. When you were single, it was probably real easy to do what you wanted, when you wanted. You had full control of every decision in life, such as where to live and what to have for dinner. In a serious relationship, you have the responsibility to let another person in on the decision-making. You both should get equal amount of say, both on the big issues and the little ones.
Many couples negate compromising, assuming life is too short to settle a dispute by mutual concession. Some even say that committed relationships remind them of childhood, as they have to get someone’s approval on many things. Truth be told, compromise is integral in healthy relationships. At the time you vowed to love each other and be in a serious relationship, you ought to have known that you won’t be getting your way a hundred percent of the time. You’re part of a team now and it’s not just about you.
Anyone who disagrees on compromising might say, “Yes, compromise is a good thing but every relationship is different. My partner and I are happy taking turns. We don’t bother mastering the art of compromise.” While it’s true that every relationship is different, one thing’s for sure: happiness is a team effort. It’s not going to be a blissful union if one person becomes the doormat while the other one always gets their way. As a team, you should learn to be supportive of each other, to listen while your other half shares their thoughts and feelings. Put the other person first when possible and healthy to do so, without of course sacrificing your dignity and self-respect.
Here are ideas to help you compromise better:
- Remember it’s not just about your way or their way. Think of a few ways you can include your partner in working toward individual concerns. Combine your desires with theirs. Compromise doesn’t only mean “a way of reaching an agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute.” Maybe in business, but not in a personal and intimate relationship. It’s not just about keeping the waters calm. Compromise also means combining the qualities of two different things. An example of a typical situation is if your loved one says they want to move to another city but you’re not too keen on their choice. One good approach is to stay in a spot where neither of you feels like you’re sacrificing personal desires for the other person entirely.
- Let your better half express their point of view. In any healthy relationship, it does wonders when two people can express concerns and expectations effectively. Let your partner know your stand on things, such as how you would like to deal with relatives and how money is spent. Lay expectations on the table. When your other half tells you what they want, always listen attentively.
- Agree on little things. It can come as a surprise for plenty of people how the little things can become so important in a committed relationship. You’ve heard of the quote “don’t sweat the small stuff”. If the little things – such as where to shop for groceries, who takes out the trash tonight, or how loud is too loud when music is played – isn’t addressed, the little things are sure to increasingly irritate each of you and small chagrins become big issues.
- Remember that compromise is teamwork. It’s a given that if we’re on a team, we ought to deal with other people’s preferences, no matter how much we want to insist on our own way. In a relationship, it’s normal to have one person, in varying times, who needs more support and the other one who’s in a place to give more. It’s a cycle. Nobody should be on top all the time.
- Discuss problems calmly. When it comes to conflicts in intimate relationships, people usually firmly stand their ground until they get their way, or they passively back down to give in to their partner’s wishes. When someone is exasperated, they tend to give up in a power struggle. Resentments can build up from this. Fighting fair is key. Make an effort to communicate with your loved one without raising your voice. Take a short break – enough for a pleasant walk or a few episodes of your favorite TV show – and tackle the problem once more when you’re both more calm.
- Work together to find a middle ground. Compromising is about meeting each other halfway, with love as the underlying current – not to simply keep the boat from rocking, or to shut your loved one up. Besides, how will you get along well with your partner when you don’t have a middle ground? When we truly care for someone, we should find a way to at least meet them halfway, especially if the other person has different reasonable needs. When you started dating, you were able to build a romantic bond because you had things in common. You wouldn’t get to the point of a committed relationship unless there’s something that’s keeping you connected. Finding a middle ground involves talking about contradictory opinions in a respectful manner, then deciding together that one choice or the other is the best course of action.
You and your mate will encounter major conflicts at some point in your relationship. Conflicts occur because of our desires to be right. Remember that you’re both working towards a mutual goal – a happy and intimate life together. Will you fight for what you think is your due, or passively surrender to your partner’s demands? If you think both choices won’t help in saving your relationship, consider one more option – compromise.