The art of compromise

4 May 2017  ·  posted in lifestyle

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Earlier this week Ruben and I were looking at furniture online again, more specifically a coffee table, a TV stand (which is a weird name because our TV actually hangs on the wall) and a big dining room cabinet. This process of searching, not finding anything that we both like, giving up for a few weeks or months and then starting over again has been repeated quite a few times already. Having a slightly different vision of our apartment and and a fairly different furniture style is probably the biggest reason why, after one and a half years, we're still missing quite a few key pieces of furniture. We want to shape our space in a way that we both feel at home so we never put our foot down and "bully" the other one into buying something.

We try to have honest and open communication about everything and this means, a lot of the time, that we not only have to listen to each other but that we actually have to take the other person's opinion into consideration when making choices. So we compromise. We give and take in a balanced way so neither of us feels shut out of the conversation, misunderstood or passed over. For our apartment this means that both of us are constantly adjusting our vision of the perfect space in a way that they can sync together. It's an ongoing process of communication to balance our wishes and needs the best we can so both of us are happy with the process and the result.

To put it bluntly: sometimes we just disagree on things, like all couples do. If we would agree on everything, I think life would become very boring after a while. Luckily the things we disagree on are mostly silly little things like coffee tables and TV stands. I agree, it can be frustrating sometimes to realize that you and your partner don't match in everything you do. It can even be infuriating to feel like whenever you want something, your partner seems to want the opposite. That whatever you propose, there's a veto coming from the other side. Sometimes I even catch myself thinking: "Is he just doing this to annoy me?" or "If it were up to me alone, our apartment would be furnished and cosy right now." 

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Obviously these mean thoughts come at moments of frustration, when our visions for the apartment don't align fully and we're stuck in a little disagreement of style and I feel like the process of building a home will take forever (and this was never supposed to be our "forever home"). The thing is, he will probably feel the exact same way because that's just how it is: decisions are so much easier on your own. When there's no one else to take into consideration, you can do whatever you want. And even though sometimes that would seem like the easiest solution to all of my shallow frustrations, I realize full well that I'm extremely lucky to have a partner to even compromise with.

When you have been together for a long time like we have (can you believe we are almost at the seven year mark?) you know the other person extremely well and most of the time you even know beforehand that you're going to have a different opinion about something. Knowing your partner like that is amazing and you can either use that information to try and come up with a compromise that both of you are happy with before you start the conversation (which is the preferred way of handling things) or you can already start an argument in your head before you even talk to your partner (which is regrettable, gets you nowhere, but still happens once in a blue moon just because we're all human and we fall into the trap sometimes...). 

I don't see compromise as a bad thing, not at all. I agree, it's very important in a relationship to stay true to yourself. Neither you or your partner will benefit from you putting your own wishes and needs aside to give your partner everything they want. But for me, compromising is a beautiful art of meaningful conversation so you can grown closer to your other half and create a stronger bond together. So my advice: next time when you have a difference of opinion about something, try and meet your partner half way.

love,
Margot

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