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How to Compromise in Marriage
Unless you marry your clone, there will be times during your marriage when differences will force a compromise. And if you’ve had to compromise repeatedly throughout your marriage as I have, it can get old. But one good thing about repetition is that it can lead to skill, and dare I say, my husband and I have honed our compromising skills to an art form.
The amount of compromise depends largely on how disparate your personalities and preferences are but assuming that you and your spouse love each other and want to stay together, learning how to compromise will help make your marriage work. So the first step is to change the way you view compromise and see it not as a necessary evil but a helpful tool in shaping your marital bliss.
A good compromise is…
*mutually acceptable. A win-win result.
*mutually satisfying. No resentments.
Here are a few ways to achieve this:
Your turn, my turn
Could there be any more elementary way of compromise than taking turns? Kindergarten students learn that the easiest way of getting along is to be fair and take turns. Why don’t adults follow the rules that worked so well when they were young? This year, you see your family for the holidays. Next year, it’s his family’s turn. Tonight, watch his choice of movie. Next time, you pick the flick. As obvious as it sounds, a surprising number of couples don’t take turns when one partner is decidedly more self-centered and the other too self-sacrificing, and not giving each other equal time can lead to silent resentments.
The wise old adage “Choose your battles”
Don’t fight over things that don’t matter much to you. Does the vacation destination mean more than the opportunity to get away and spend some quality time together? When we disagreed over parenting decisions, the one who cared the most about the matter usually had the final say.
We all have personal desires, yet when we compare them, typically one ranks higher in priority. A new patio cover or dental work? His cousin’s wedding or your father’s 80th birthday? When one decision does not outrank the other, use another compromise method.
For couples who live by religious or spiritual principles can turn to deity to guide their steps when having to choose between two paths. Praying together and discussing any resulting inspiration often clears away individual ego-based thoughts.
Random chance and competition
Flip a coin to see who gets to choose. Obviously the larger life decisions shouldn’t be left to chance, but coin-flipping, foot races, arm wrestling and other seemingly childish methods can settle minor skirmishes in playful ways. And don’t underestimate the power of playfulness in easing marital tension! When you have fun with your mate, it makes having to deal with the more serious matters a little easier.
The good thing about compromise is that you honestly don’t mind conceding if it makes your mate happy. When you love someone, his or her happiness is your happiness, too. And compromise doesn’t have to be painful. It is a negotiation skill that will serve you well not only in marriage but in other interpersonal relationships in your life.
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