Compromise is a reality in a relationship between two persons with different personalities. It is a bridge everyone in a relationship must cross.
It can be in simple situations such as who will do a certain chore in the house or in more complex decisions such as the number of children to have or who will pay the bills.
A look at the dictionary tells us that Compromise is the settlement of differences by consent reached by mutual concession.
Max Baucis, whose definition I prefer, says that a true definition of compromise is a little give, a little take. But where it becomes tricky is where compromise becomes a sacrifice.
How will you walk the fine line between conceding certain things for a greater good in the relationship and shedding your fundamental values in a bid to satisfy the other person? How will you know how to compromise in a relationship. And how much should you compromise in a relationship?
This is the problem many couples face in a relationship. Either they are too afraid to consider the other person’s interest before making a certain decision or action because they feel it’s going to cost them their dreams and identities or they have already conceded too much to the other partner.
If care and knowledge are not applied, compromises might turn into the uglier facet of a relationship: endless sacrifice for one’s partner without receiving anything back. And this imbalance will only breed resentment and eat gradually and surely at the love that you have for your partner.
Imagine you being the one always having to lower your standards for your partner’s benefit. Imagine feeling as if you are the doormat in the relationship. You will feel as if the summary of your relationship is you being taken advantage of, right?
And such relationships are bound to crumble sooner rather than later. That’s why I am going to tell you how to compromise in a relationship. Healthy compromising, to be precise, that’s what matters:
7 Ways To Compromise In A Relationship
1. Put Things Into Perspective
For you to know how to compromise in a relationship, you should know how to put the challenge you both have into perspective.
Know if it is something that matters really, if it is something that affects you in the long run, or just a dispute of short term effect. Weigh your decision carefully.
For instance, even though I do not like eating at the restaurant in my resident street due to the fact that a lot of people know me there, I do sometimes. That’s because my husband prefers to dine in places in his neighborhood.
It would have been a cause of friction between us if I hadn’t contemplated if that difference in our preferences is worthy enough to be a cause of friction between us.
2. Walk A Mile In The Other Person’s Shoes
There is actually a proverb that says we can’t empathize with another person until we try to walk in their shoes. This is true in relationships with other people whether romantic or not.
We wouldn’t even know that person if we haven’t imagined ourselves in their position. That is because we wouldn’t understand the reason for their stand on certain issues. We wouldn’t know the reason why they chose to clash with us on certain issues.
When a matter arises that requires your knowledge on how to compromise in a relationship, ask yourself that if the other person concedes to you, how will he or she be affected? Will it slow them down in any way? Will it lead to strain on their physical and emotional health?
Take, for instance, the issue about the restaurant that I had mentioned earlier. The reason I could agree to settle for dining in the restaurants on our street was that I had to put myself in my husband’s shoes.
You see, he is a very reserved man and does not enjoy being in unfamiliar places. In fact, most times, he is visibly uncomfortable in those places. So I agreed that we would go to the restaurant he likes every other Friday evening.
This makes me remember one of the epic compromise examples that I know that can give you an insight on how to compromise in a marriage.
One of my male friends had an issue with his wife on the number of children to have. You see, he was a traditional man, wanting to have a yard full of running children but his wife didn’t subscribe to that idea.
This would have caused a lot of tension in the house if my friend hadn’t calmed down enough to reason the matter through and through.
His wife’s mother had died during childbirth and that had made her reluctant towards having children. So my friend tried to imagine being in her place.
He would have been terrified, too, of course. And that gave him the insight to be able to concede to a middle point between the both of them. Now the last time I checked, they are happy with two children born years apart.
3. Opt For The Third Option
For a relationship to thrive, it shouldn’t be all about your choice or the other person’s choice. That might create grudges if the imbalance is overwhelming.
Rather, the winning formula is to incorporate the choices of both of you and form a new version that will suit you both. That way, both of you will get to win to an extent and nobody will be losing out.
For nearly every issue, there are more than two options to a solution. Or at least a third one. Maybe, you want your own room so you can maintain your space and right to privacy but your partner prefers being near to you all the time.
You can agree on having a separate room where you can keep your working things and other very personal stuff but share the same room with your partner at night. That will satisfy two different interests at the same time. Great, right?
For instance, my husband and I, on some Friday night, instead of going out to eat in a restaurant, will choose to carve out time to make an elaborate dinner with a fancy table setting right there in our home.
It is our home, of course. So I get to enjoy a very nice dinner away from prying eyes and my husband gets to be comfortable, too. So we get to thoroughly enjoy the night together.
4. Avoid Being Over Stiff
Imagine when you hardly do any form of exercise for your body. No running. No stretching. Nothing. What would happen?
Of course, any strange task that demands some energy will overwhelm you and cause you to break down. That’s because your body is not trained for it. That’s because your body is not flexible.
The same applies to having a rigid mind in a relationship. You should not go into a relationship, with the mindset that you wouldn’t waver on your stand on certain issues. That’s not how to compromise in a relationship.
Rather, be open to new ideas. Be willing to stretch your mind to new possibilities of doing things when unexpected situations occur. Either your way or the highway is not the best attitude to cultivate especially when you desire to know how to compromise in a relationship and ultimately have a healthy relationship.
Let me ask you some certain questions: are you willing to see your relationship grow. And are you willing to compromise within a relationship? Answers to those questions will help you to change your mindset. Learn How To Be The Wife Your Husband Desires.
5. Be Honest With Your Partner About Your Fundamental Values
Mahatma Gandhi says “Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” There are some issues that we as humans can’t waver on. If we do that, we risk losing our identity.
We risk becoming someone else entirely. We risk becoming people with no values and beliefs as our anchor. Those values could have been what had endeared us to so many people, including our partners.
It could be what gives us the tools to survive every day in this world. So we cannot afford to lose them in a bid to make someone else happy, it’s absolutely a deal-breaker; a no-go area.
It could be a matter of religion or lovemaking preferences. It could pertain to work ethics or financial ethics. Or even your support network or dreams. Or your respect as a person.
A healthy relationship wouldn’t cause you to give up your dreams and goals. It shouldn’t infringe on your rights as a person.
Take my cousin for instance who had to leave her successful career in law to be a full-term housewife for twenty-two years because her husband didn’t like the idea of his wife working. She had to leave the marriage because she was absolutely unhappy in the marriage.
All those years, she had been sacrificing her identity for someone who didn’t care if she was miserable or not. That is not a healthy compromise. That’s losing one’s self. And no one who proclaims to be in love with you would want you to do that.
It’s best you communicate to your partner how important your values are and vice versa. So that you both will fully understand the areas you can apply the knowledge of how to compromise in a relationship and the areas you cannot.
6. Make Compromises Only When You Are Calm
Remember that saying of “Do not make promises when happy and decisions when angry“? Very true a saying. You should not be in a negative mood such as being irritable, tired, or angry when you are in a situation that requires compromise. That’s not how to compromise in a relationship.
Be calm when making decisions that involve give and take. This cannot be emphasized enough. I do not bring up issues with my husband when he’s in an irritable mood (Learn How To Stop Fighting In A Relationship). It only makes the issue more volatile.
Rather, I wait till he is back from work in the evening, refreshed, and has eaten. That way, we will be in the right frame of mind to listen to each other. And then, in clear distinct terms, you can express your needs and desires to your partner.
Avoid making sly remarks and using sarcastic tones. That would cause his or her defenses to instinctively raise and inflame the discussion into an argument. And when you are through explaining, give him or her the chance to talk, too.
Listen without interrupting. Make all the visible signs that you are listening too. And when your partner is through talking, recap what was said so that he or she knows that you actually listened.
That way your partner will know that his or her opinion and desire matters too in the decision you two are about to make. That will make the compromise easier for both parties involved.
7. Seek Help
Sometimes, we are not just used to considering other people’s interests along with us. Maybe it’s because we are used to having things our way all our life. You want something; you get it no matter the cost. You are used to it. And so it can be overwhelming how your relationship can’t go that same route without having serious clashes.
My dear, I am here to tell you that it’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to seek help from professional relationship counselors or even from experienced familiar people that you trust.
You can let them talk to both of you, separately and together, and find ways that you two can complement each other’s highs and lows.
Final Thoughts On How To Compromise In A Relationship
Compromise in a relationship has been called a necessary evil by many people. It requires you to place more importance on that person in your life than your ego.
A relationship is meant to have you two support each other to become a better version of yourselves. And if you are asking yourself why is compromise important in a relationship? You should know that healthy compromise in a relationship challenges you to grow as distinct individuals and as partners.
It tightens the bond in the relationship. That’s because no resentment is caused by the imbalance that will occur from toxic compromises.
Leon Seltzer will say, “Unless we become skilled in the fine art of compromise, our relationship can quickly degrade into feelings of dissatisfaction and discord. Not to mention a disillusioning sense of being all alone in the relationship.”
It is a fine art because it can be very tricky to practice and can only get better with more time with that partner of yours.
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