Compromising is not always the answer

We all seem fixated on compromises these days, as if it’s essential that we find some magic middle point to achieve a resolution that is fair. But why does the resolution always have to be fair? Why can’t we just give in sometimes – for the sake of peace and harmony and because we love someone?

In a true compromise both parties are a little bit unhappy about the result. And there are plenty of situations that call for a compromise – taking turns sleeping in when there are young children in the house, one person cooking while the other washes up, and taking turns deciding what to do on a night out.

Then there are the issues for which there can be no compromise – whether or not to try for a family, having another baby, and what country or state to live in at any one time.

But what I’m really interested in are the everyday situations when we shouldn’t be looking for a compromise at all. In the name of love and commitment, we can just do what our partner asks. Yes, I’ll come to your work function. Sure, I’ll come to bed earlier tonight. Of course I will pick you up from the station. You don’t need to make sure that your partner does something in return in order for you to agree. It doesn’t have to be fair. It should all even out in the end. In a long term relationship, there will be times when one person has greater needs than the other or when one person seems to be calling the shots. But over time, the pendulum usually swings and the giver becomes the receiver.

So if you find that you and your partner are forever in search of a compromise to every situation, stop and think about whether life would be a lot smoother if you both decided to just give for the sake of giving.

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