It’s been said that compromise is necessary in love relationships.
I would agree but many relationships use compromise when negotiation would leave them feeling more connected and cared for.
I coach a couple that occasionally argues about where to take a trip. She’d say Colorado resort, for the snow; he’d say up north to visit with friends and family. Each year, they alternate, reminding the other, “but last time we went where YOU wanted to go. This year, I pick.” “Fine.” This is compromise.
What about negotiation? What about a new type of conversation that might go something like…
“I hear that you want to go to a Colorado resort in the snow. What excited you the most about that?”
“The snow and having alone time with you by a fireplace!”
“Well, I’d like to go up north, and stay with friends and family. What excites me the most about this plan is being up north, and traveling inexpensively. It’d also be nice to at least see some of our friends we’ve not seen in a while.”
“Got it. So what if we go up north later in the year when there will be snow…and we can stay one night with friends and family, and spend the rest of our vacation at an inexpensive hotel, where we can spend some alone time by the fireplace.”
Creative problem solving in relationships so that both parties walk away with their needs met is what’s possible. Negotiation moves a couple away from the sacrificial, transaction-based compromise and into constant connection and where everyone’s needs are met. No one has to go un-fed.