Have you ever been stuck between two different decisions or two different opinions between you and your partner? Can you recall debating over date night in or date night out? Dinner or a Movie? In self-help books, magazines, and blogs online, the main rule of thumb for relationships appears always to be “compromise.” We are taught that happiness in a relationship depends on our ability to compromise with one another and settle differences in a manner that is fair for both parties. As defined by Merriam Webster, Compromise is defined as meaning: “A settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions.
As children, we learn to compromise through play. We learn and negotiate how to share a toy or take turns using an item when multiple other individuals are involved through play. Through Compromise as children, we also develop an understanding of fairness and not only taking into consideration our needs but other’s needs as well. It is important to compromise to improve growing as a team, establish common goals together, and foster trust and security in your relationship.
Even though Compromise can be important in a relationship, certain topics should not be compromised on in our relationships. Much like other topics in our lives, Compromise can be both healthy and unhealthy. In terms of unhealthy compromises, topics such as boundaries, values, core beliefs such as religion and politics should not be compromised in a relationship. In our relationships, we should not be required to change parts of us that would cause resentment or self-loathing. Compromising should be fair in that both parties give and take and are pleased with the outcome of the situation. Healthy compromises can include topics such as finances, sex, traveling/vacation, date nights and their frequency, and determining when to have conflictual conversations, to name a few. Compromise can be difficult in a relationship because it can be challenging to let go of the wants and needs that we believe to be more important than the other person’s needs. Thankfully, there are tips for compromising in a relationship that can help make difficult decisions with our partners.
Tips for Compromising in a Relationship
- The first step in the beginning to Compromise would be to determine your and your partner’s flexible and inflexible areas for the topic of concern. It is important to know what you and your partner will “bend” on and what you and your partner are unwilling to “bend” on.
- Converse, have a conversation about each other’s flexible and inflexible areas and why they are important for each other.
ex) Questions such as 1. What are your beliefs/values about this topic
2. Why are your beliefs and feelings about the goal important to you?
- It is important to find common goals after determining you and your partner’s flexible and inflexible areas. Engage in conversation about what goals will be agreed upon.
ex) what you are both willing to give and receive regarding the goal
Question to ask: 1. What goals do we agree upon?
- According to Psychology today, taking turns may be a reasonable solution for Compromise. Determine how you both will take turns with your partner to ensure that both parties meet their needs.
ex) “we can do it my way this time, and your way next time.”
- Have a conversation about how you can continue to compromise on other topics and goals in the future to reduce conflict surrounding Compromise.
All in all, Compromise is a skill that can be difficult to manage, but it is achievable. Get ready, Get Set, Go Compromise! Following the tips and techniques above can assist with making Compromise easier in your relationships.