A Relationship Rule to Remember

Relationship rule to remember

Starting off as glorious, relationships need to be nurtured if you don’t want them to turn into gruesome. “Nothing new,” you might say. Yet, over the years, I’ve met a number of people who seem to think that a good marriage (or any other relationship, for that matter,) is just supposed to happen — by some miracle— and sans any great effort on anyone’s part. Well, that’s not happening.

Considered a “voice of reason” to some, I’ve been asked — most of the time by someone planning to walk down the aisle — what I thought the “secret” to a good marriage was. I’m no expert, but those who asked were those who knew that my husband (who also happens to be my business partner,) and I seem to get along so well, or, at the very least, were not likely to strangle each other after being together 24/7 for over 25 years. Each time I was asked, I was reminded of something that I heard years before we married and which has resonated with me ever since. It’s a fairly reasonable, common sense approach to at least consider, even if it isn’t realistically applicable in all situations — or in the heat of the moment. At the very least, one of the two in the relationship needs to be considering this recommendation for the rule to work at all.

Assuming that other “good relationship” characteristics are in working order, so to speak (i.e.: you actually like, love, care about and respect each other,) my response to the question asked, was and is quite simple: each one in the relationship needs to be willing to apply the 50/100 percent rule; that is, compromise 50 percent… 100 percent of the time. I think more than anything, “willing” may be the operative word here and that the concept of “compromise” must not be considered weak or having anything to do with having “lost” something (like power or position.)

Obviously, not all relationship issues can be resolved by implementing a 50 percent compromise — especially if one’s values are at stake. But I believe, having put this into practice many times, that this concept refers to both parties being willing to listen to (and hear!) the other’s perspective, be open-minded, sensitive to their partner’s feelings, needs and beliefs and, as might seem obvious, learn something vitally important from the experience. As in many relationships, we find the circumstances change, but the “issue” we argue about… differ on… go crazy over, when seriously evaluated, is very likely the same.

No one (including me) might ever achieve the 100 percent mark on this advice; however, there is likely a huge percentage of issues that arise that can actually be settled or calmed by applying this win/win solution. Because loving relationships need attention and, yes, work, we need to choose our battles, as “they” say and need not feel as though every battle has to be won or that we will be totally satisfied with the outcome. Most important, we need to seriously consider whether or not some battles are really worth fighting in the first place — whether at home, or worldwide, for that matter.

This is not rocket science, compromise is not a dirty word and most everything worthwhile requires thoughtful TLC. The question still gets asked of me after all these years and my answer remains the same… just about 100 percent of the time.

Can you relate? What would you say if asked the same question?

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