Relationships are challenging because they always ask something of us – in particular, close personal relationships. They make demands of us in so many ways – our time, our energy, our attention, our resources.
Ultimately they demand that we surrender some of our preferences in aid of experiencing the richness of union and love. In other words, they ask us to make compromises.
One of the fundamentals of successful relating is the ability to know when and how to compromise.
Here are some signs where a relationship may be destined for a short shelf-life because of what I call “compromise issues”:
one person is doing all the compromising
If someone is unwilling to make any compromises they are going to miss out on the joy of union. Relationships work when there is balance. If one person is sacrificing their energy, time, resources or preferences and this is not matched by the other, then imbalance quickly builds.
Note: this does not mean that each person is compromising equally at all times. Perhaps one person is going through a particularly demanding period at work and is not as available as normal. Their partner may need to surrender their desire to see that person every night in aid of supporting them through that phase. When that phase shifts then balance needs to be restored and it is time for the other to step up and make some compromises.
too much compromising, by one or both
Yes – it is possible to surrender too much. Relationships are not sustainable when one or both are like doormats, giving in in ways that create imbalance and falseness. When the boundaries of surrendering preferences are too porous then the individual loses his or her identity. Their individuality becomes consumed by the relationship and this weakens them and limits the possibility of a unity experience.
when compromising is a strain
If you are straining to compromise then watch out. If it is an effort to let go of your preferences for the greater good of the other then pay attention. This kind of strain leads to the build up of tension and resentment.
There is a simple way to see whether some strain might be creeping in. It’s called The Yes Test.
The Yes Test is a way to test the stability of your compromising. When you find yourself in a situation that asks for you to surrender your preference are you able to say YES easily, without hesitating and without feeling grouchy? If so, then likely your compromise ability is sustainable.
However if you are not able to say Yes easily, then take a look at your energy levels. When we have got out of balance we then find it more difficult to give. If we are tired, stressed or unwell this will always impact our ability to surrender. If you feel some strain is there then take time to get some rest, revitalize, self nourish. Only then can you get yourself back into a state where you are able to give.