Over the last week, we have explored the innate and learned behavior which defines and exhibits strength and weakness. To conclude this series, let’s explore how to strike a healthy balance of the two. As the title suggests, balancing strengths and weaknesses is the key for both the individual and the couple.
Will ~ Introspection
Being strong-willed does not equate to being completely inflexible on all fronts. Being weak-willed does not mean giving in to every notion floated. Balance is reached in the ability to compromise. Simple? Hardly.
By design, compromise means both parties ceding some ground to create a middle ground on which to meet. More often than not, one party will give up the ground for the pair to share. This is not true compromise, but when done in an equitable, alternating pattern, it can be acceptable to both for a long period of time without resentment.
For the strong-willed, it means learning to give in on the items which do not compromise character. For the weak-willed, it means learning to take a place on the playing field and standing one’s ground.
Beliefs ~ Inspection
To effectively compromise, one must examine the belief system to determine non-negotiables. All which remains must be faced with an open mind and active listening skills. Whether the compromise is between friends, family or mates, it must come by means of open, honest communication.
Before clubbing the other person over the head with beliefs, one must learn the belief system of the other. (Attention audience: Belief system does not mean religion, although religion is a system of belief.) Compare and contrast the two and agree to mutually acceptable terms.
Terms can include encompassing certain beliefs while disregarding others. Disregarding a belief does not mean both people must give it up. For example, One believes nuclear power is the best solution to energy consumption. Mate does not have to believe nuclear power is the answer, but must respect One’s right to believe. Both mates agree not to let the belief become an issue in the relationship or marriage.
All character traits can be carried through to extremes. Both should examine their own characters before discussing the similarities and differences to determine what level of character is acceptable. This conversation will define such non-negotiable subjects as fidelity and honesty.
The best approach to the conversation is to let the other person describe the character Mate exhibits. By listening to what Mate has deduced of one’s character, one can decide whether or not the self-assessment is accurate in practice.
Often, we idealize our own character and are lured into believing we are better than we act. Actions speak louder than words and are only drowned out by inaction. Complete honesty about one’s character begins with knowing how others perceive that character.
Prudence & Insight
The most difficult concept to compromise is the one of knowing which answers are best for the couple. Between them, they must choose who is to handle which decisions. From finances to child-rearing, discussing the boundaries is essential to longevity.
In this arena in particular, societal views, expectations and opinions should be wholesale ignored. The decisions within a relationship must be based on individual abilities and the willingness to accept such responsibility. When no natural leader emerges, the couple must agree to act as a unit to conquer the task.
For example, society deems men better equipped to handle money. When the man has a history of bad financial decisions and the woman is a trained accountant, society’s view is skewed and should not apply.
Honor & Courage
Both partners must have honor and courage, but not in equal measure. Both must honor the compromises reached through honest dialogue. Both must have the courage to resist societal norms’ imposition on those compromises.
Barring illegality of the compromise, the couple must be able and willing to stand before their families and peers to declare: “What happens in our home does so because we make it happen. You have no right to judge us.”
This validation can be one of the compromises from Prudence & Insight, merely on the grounds one mate may be better equipped to be the marital spokesperson. However, both mates must subscribe to the validation for the couple to survive.
It takes two.
The third segment of this series asked:
How do these traits make men and women compatible when the characteristics are not in equal measure?”
In compromise can the sexes settle into a common ground where one mate’s abilities and strength of character can compensate for the weakness in the other. In compromise do both become stronger.
If you have missed the beginning of this series, visit the following links to catch up. The comments are important to understanding how we got to this post.
How has compromise strengthened your or Mate’s character in your relationship? Has the failure to compromise ended a relationship? What have you learned in this series?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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