Two pieces of general advice I give when dating or in the early stages of a new relationship are “lead and guide the interactions” and “bring them into your world”. Some people take this advice far too literally when they are actually in a relationship. Doing these two things relentlessly runs the risk of becoming a selfish, unreasonable partner.
Every healthy relationship needs compromise! Humans are extremely complex and varied creatures. No matter how suited you feel you and your partner are, you will always have differing opinions on certain things. It is unlikely you will ever have someone who always confidently agrees with you and decidedly wants to do whatever you want to do. Let’s be honest, how fun would that actually be! My general rule for compromising is:
If something doesn’t hurt me or go against my core beliefs and principles then do it.
There is more to healthy compromise though, and this article aims to break it down to its core components…
Compromising in the subconscious mind:
Our subconscious mind deals with most of the day to day responses and emotional feedback we encounter. This can either be good or bad regarding relationships, depending on how our subconscious mind has been conditioned by our unique life experiences and personal development.
A lot of couples feel that they can instinctively come to compromises on a wide variety of topics or issues without much hassle, while others find that they disagree on even the most trivial decisions. The need for compromise occurs so frequently in long-term relationships that most of it does happen subconsciously and isn’t even noteworthy, even if you fall into the second category.
The cause for any unrest that does occur while dealing with compromise though – which is also what leads to arguments – is not feeling validated or valued enough in the relationship.
Compromising with a partner is extremely easy to do, even when dealing with really big decisions. If you can overcome some of the negative emotional barriers and insecurities, the hard part is already done.
How to compromise in a relationship:
There are several general points that are useful to adopt whilst compromising with a partner, such as not going back on your word and not making compromises conditionally, where you are expecting something back in return.
Below is a diagram I have made (you can look at it like a simple equation if it makes it easier to understand) and it shows the components that lead to a happy compromise:
Gratification – Hindrance = Appreciation + Mutuality
Gratification relates to how satisfied you are with the outcome of the compromise in question and how much you enjoy pleasing your partner in this way.
Unless you are feeling signs of contempt in your relationship, you should automatically get a deep sense of fulfilment from pleasing your partner and maintaining a relationship of peace.
Hindrance refers to both how much effort it takes for you to compromise on a certain issue and how much that compromise will affect what would be your ideal, personal choice.
If a decision, feeling or action doesn’t directly affect you then any averseness towards fully compromising is almost certainly fuelled by insecurities mentioned previously in this article.
You can’t force your partner to appreciate any compromises that you make but it is a well known behavioural trait that we are more willing to do things when we feel appreciated and valued, and vice versa.
One of the most common reasons why someone will not compromise with their partner, even if the other factors are met, is that they feel they are supplicating or losing control if they do.
The actual causes of those feelings are answered elsewhere on this website but you should always feel that the compromise is mutual, a win-win situation, and that over time the degree of compromise from each of you roughly balances out. 🙂