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Compromise is a bridge you will need to cross in any relationship. It can be as simple as where to go for dinner, or as complex as where to raise children. This concept is a pervasive reality in everyday life with another person. Merging your perspectives and molding a life together is the great skill of a thriving relationship between two individuals. This is not to say one should compromise his/her boundaries and identity for the sake of the relationship. But rather find the fine line to walk together.

Relationships take place between two people and are played out on their common ground. This common ground is compromise, and it is a foundational layer for committed relationships.
Compromise is understood as giving up something in order to reach a place of understanding with your partner. At some point in your relationship, you and your partner will have a different approach, opinion or wish. At this point, one of you needs to concede, or the better alternative is to compromise. Compromise is an ‘intermediate state between conflicting alternatives reached by mutual concession’. This is the positive side of compromise; when you meet in the middle.

However, it is also defined as ‘the expedient acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable’. This is the down side of compromise. To successfully compromise in relationships you need to understand the disparity between sacrifice versus compromise. Compromise should never be a sacrifice of core values, beliefs or needs. That is when the scale has tipped too far in the wrong direction.

It’s important to know when to bend and when to stand your ground. Not every situation you find yourself in a relationship is simple. Relationships have a lot of grey areas, so you have to tread carefully to make sure you don’t completely lose yourself in all the compromising. There are certain things you should never let go, no matter how much someone else might want you to.

The goal for anybody looking for a relationship is to find that special someone who ‘completes’ him/her; who matches with your personality and character so well that you coexist in perfect harmony. This is not to say you are identical with the other person, but you complement each other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

It’s always best to put on another’s pair of shoes; put your feet in their shoes. Honestly ask yourself what the situation looks like from your partner’s perspective. This is a chance to expand your emotional intelligence and capacity for empathy. As they say, never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.

Compromise is not always easy. Sometimes you win a little, sometimes you lose a little. But if both of you are not willing to sacrifice in the relationship, chances are you will reach a junction in your relationship that will bring it to a grinding halt. Compromise is about creating a fair playing field to accommodate two individuals.
It is not about conceding to a lower standard. The goal you should both work towards is to get the best of both your worlds.

Nkosingphile Ntshalintshali

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