Friday, April 10, 2009

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise...Aaaargh!!

When partners disagree about an issue in a relationship, there are a variety of ways that a solution can be reached. A typical solution may be for one of the two partners to allow the other to have their way in the disagreement. This works well if the issue being discussed is of much greater importance to one partner than another. It also works well if partners frequently take turns being the one to compromise. In this instance the partners both trust that they will have their turn at having their way and getting their needs met.

Another type of solution is for partners to compromise. Instead of one partner being completely satisfied with the solution and the other being completely dissatisfied, the partners negotiate with one another to find an acceptable middle ground where both can find some satisfaction. This works well with partners who are willing to communicate their needs to one another with honesty and openness. It requires that both parties be capable of interacting, for the most part, without hostility and rage, even during a disagreement. In order to facilitate communication the following may be helpful:

Principles of Compromise Communication
  • Stay on topic
  • Don’t bring up past mistakes
  • No name calling
  • No sarcasm or caustic remarks
  • If emotions escalate, take a ten minute time out to refocus and think

Should one partner falter in their attempt to follow healthy communication principles, patience and kindness are in order. Both parties will fail many times before getting used to a new communication pattern. Expectations are critical. The realization that both partners are human beings and will make many mistakes will foster forgiveness. Appropriate apologies are necessary to prevent the accumulation of bitterness.

Using our tools for self care increases our self esteem. Using these practices in our daily lives makes healthy communication, compromise and taking turns in getting our needs met easier to accomplish. In this way we give ourselves the gift of healthy relationships.

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