Saturday, April 9, 2011

Is it Really All that Important? – Part 2

Great marriages don’t happen by accident, all great marriages require work on the part of both marriage partners. Any time you bring two people together, whether it be for work, recreation or in a marriage, there has to be shared goals and interests, communication, and agreement. Of course, sharing goals, interests and coming to agreement require the other thing I mentioned, communication.

No two people agree perfectly about everything. While they may find agreement on many things, even most things, there are always going to be some percentage of things that they don’t see eye to eye on. Whether major or minor, those things can be what cause problems between them.

All too often, those few points of disagreement end up taking a larger role in our marriages than they deserve. Instead of focusing on the myriad of things that we are in agreement about, we focus on those areas where we disagree, even though they might not be worth the time.

Any couple, coming together in marriage, needs to realize that they are not the same (if they don’t realize that, they’ve got bigger problems). They’ve come from different backgrounds; with different customs, habits, mannerisms and ways of doing things. Those differences are bound to cause a clash sometime or other. Hopefully, we can keep it to a small clash.

How we deal with those clashes is what can make our marriage wonderful or a nightmare. There are those who always insist that everything has to be done their way. While that might make their marriage wonderful for themselves, it is bound to make it a nightmare for their partner. Then there are those who are the opposite, becoming the martyr and allowing the other to walk all over them. They might make their spouse momentarily happy, at a price of making themselves bitter and miserable.

Solid relationships happen when both partners learn how to compromise. For many of us, this is a strange term; we are used to fighting things out, until one or the other wins. That makes one person a 100% winner and the other a 100% loser. When we compromise, each of us gets to be a 50% winner. That looks to me like a better plan.

Compromise is based upon each partner giving up a little, in order to reach a middle ground that is good for both of them. That middle ground probably won’t be perfect for either party, but it will be something that both can comfortably live with.

One of the keys to making an effective compromise is determining what’s really important to you and what is not. Just like two nations coming to the negotiating table, you don’t want to negotiate away the things that are important. On the other hand, giving away the unimportant things, as a good-faith gesture, helps your partner give away their unimportant things as well.

If something is not important, yet you still try to hang on to it, you’re operating in pride; like the macho guy who says, “I’m king of the castle. I command. We do everything my way.” If you want to be that way, I hope you like being single, because no woman in her right mind will want to stay married to you.

On the other hand, a man who learns how to openly discuss disagreements with his spouse, coming to an agreement that works for both of them, is a man who will have peace and love in his home. The question is, which are you?

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