The Art of Compromise Exploring the benefits of a give and take relationship

The Art of Compromise
Exploring the benefits of a give and take relationship...
by Jennifer Good

Many people mistake the act of compromise as selling-out or giving in. Compromise to them means giving up something. In actuality if you stay true to the real definition of compromise you will gain a relationship free of petty battles. You will learn how to co-exist in a loving and appreciative way.

So, what does compromise actually mean? According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary it means, "A mutual consent reached by concession on both sides..." The key words here are mutual consent. It can't be a true compromise if one partner doesn't feel it is mutual. The act of compromise by definition indicates that both partners take an active role in finding a solution. This cannot be done if one or both partners are angry. When beginning to address an issue with your partner you should adhere to the following steps:

Note: It may be a good idea to let your partner know ahead of time that you have some ideas about a certain situation, and you'd like their insight and help with it. This can help set the tone for positive, non-accusatory discussions. Agree beforehand that if at any time either partner feels angry or upset about the issue you can come back and talk about it at a later date.

1. Talk about the situation openly and calmly with each other. Explain what that situation is to you, and how they feel about it. Then, have your partner do the same.

2. Agree to take turns talking out the compromise. This will allow each partner to fully discuss his or her ideas. Do not interrupt your partner during this time.


3. Depending on who goes first, decide what possible outcomes or solutions would be acceptable to you. Take a look at it from your partner's viewpoints and decide if these solutions would be fair to them. What do you feel your partner wants from the situation? Revise your outcomes or solutions around what would still be acceptable to you, but also accounts for your partner's best interests.

4. The next partner should now follow Step 3.

Note: Solutions to your problems will vary. For example, if the issue is that you don't feel you are sharing the workload around the house, your compromise could be: "If you do the dishes, I'll cook dinner."

5. Agree on a "DOABLE" compromise. Don't take one step forward only to fall two steps behind. A compromise should be considered a promise. You don't want to have one partner following through with their promises, and the other lagging behind. That will only create a relationship filled with resentment.

6. Agree on a future time, right then and there, to talk about things that may come up. Ideally, you'll want to agree on a date a week in advance. It is crucial for any relationship to have "us" time to talk through issues or problems you may be having. You'll find a weekly check-in date will help dramatically decrease the amount of flair-ups in your relationship.

Compromise is a way of helping each other find a solution that benefits both people. When you start looking at solutions to your problems this way you can't help but gain a happier relationship, which in turn creates a happier you!