Why Compromise and Negotiation Are Crucial Skills for Marital Bliss

Even if you’re the most enlightened person in the world, you’re going to have some preconceived notions when you enter into a long-term relationship.

Since you’re working as a doctor, clearly your partner will stay home with the kids. Or every year you’ll vacation for two weeks in Hawaii. Or your partner will handle the budgeting and taxes because they have a finance degree.

Here’s the thing: your partner is bound to have preconceived notions of their own. And they probably won’t line up with yours every single time.

When this happens, you have three options – and two of them pretty much guarantee relationship problems.

The first option is dig in your heels and fight for the way things “should” be. For the way you want them to be. But if you do this, you and your partner are likely to experience a lot of unhealthy conflict. Because you’re telling them that they don’t matter. That their job is to bow to your worldview.

Even if they are a relatively agreeable person, this is bound to push you apart. They may feel unfulfilled and seek that fulfillment elsewhere. Or they could engage in lies and trickery to find ways to do what they want to do anyway. And, believe it or not, their very agreement could even cause you to lose respect for them.

The second option is that you don’t put in a fight. You simply agree. But if you are the one giving in to all of their whims, the same thing will be true in the opposite direction.

If you engage in either of these behaviors too often, you may need help to save your marriage.

That leaves option three: learning how to compromise and negotiate in a friendly, respectful way.

Doing this has so many positive benefits for your relationship. You’ll both learn why each of you cares about certain things, which will make you both more understanding and accepting. You improve your ability to work together. You’ll show your kids how to work out problems with other people. And you’ll come to trust each other more, which will draw you even closer together.

So how do you learn these skills? I’m going to give you five rules to start.

  1. Value the differences in your partner.
  2. Be okay with not being “right.”
  3. Find the joy in learning something new.
  4. Accept the fact that meeting your partner’s needs sometimes means setting your own needs aside.
  5. When you disagree, do so with both love and respect.

Following these rules won’t always be easy. You’re bound to make mistakes and be selfish some of the time.

But if you know how you should be acting, you can strive to achieve that mindset. The closer both of you get, the happier your time together will be.

Rooting for you!

Sara Freed


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