Jeanie and I had a problem a couple of weeks ago. A small problem by most standards, but the kind of thing that can irritate people on a daily basis. It’s started to get really warm here in Ohio, and Jeanie likes the overhead fan on at night. I don’t.
In the first column on intimate relationships I mentioned that Jeanie and I follow certain guidelines. One is that we can always both have what we want. This can be more complex when there are children involved (not to mention whole nations negotiating conflicts), but we believe in all instances there are solutions that can satisfy everyone. The common notion that marriage requires compromise has never applied to us—and I don’t believe it needs to apply to anyone.
However, if you believe concessions are necessary, they will be. You will look for them, and when you find the best, you will stop looking. We never look for compromise, and we don’t stop until we find a solution that feels good to both of us. Not only have we always been able to find one, but in the process we usually come up with something we like more than what either of us had thought of in the beginning.
Fan vs. no fan
So we told each other what we wanted fan-wise. And then we began experimenting. A few nights I was uncomfortable. A few she was. We now have a solution we’re both happy with. What made her uncomfortable was that she was too warm without the fan. For me, if we turned it on when we went to bed, I was fine with just a sheet. But I would wake early in the morning, cold, and have to fumble for a blanket. Now we turn the fan on earlier in the evening. It’s cold enough that I can use the blanket as I go to sleep. No waking in the morning. No fumbling. No being overheated on her part.
As I said, a minor problem. But if we had simply staked out our positions of fan vs. no fan, it could have become a small, ongoing discomfort, had we compromised, by say, alternating nights. It could also have turned into a source of ongoing tension if we believed someone has to give in.
So when we want different things, we consciously focus on finding a solution where both of us feel good. Knowing we can get there, we make no effort to keep the other from getting what they want. This is a very important point in terms of the Law of Attraction. If your effort is focused on preventing someone from having something (so you can get what you want), you are drawing that very thing into your experience.
The most effective stance is to be clear about the essence of what you want. In my case, it wasn’t that the fan had to be off. I just didn’t want to wake up early and cold. Jeanie didn’t care if the fan was on or not. She just wanted to be cool. Any number of options open up when people start to look at the essence rather than a specific outcome (turning on air conditioning, opening windows, changing the location of the fan, etc.).
If your partner wants to buy something and you don’t, the usual approach is, “Don’t buy it,” followed by some reason (it’s too expensive, we don’t need it, I don’t like the color, etc.). Often, that’s all it takes. But if your significant other continues to yearn for it, the next step is to find out specifically what about it is creating such a draw. When you tease out those elements (it looks like my grandmother’s hutch, the chair I use for reading is getting uncomfortable), then you can focus on satisfying those elements without giving up what feels good to you.
It is easier when both people in a relationship have the understanding that everyone can be fully satisfied, but it’s not necessary. When your partner realizes you’re not resisting what they desire, they will soften and not push back. That softening, combined with your clarity that you can find a happy solution for everyone, is usually all that is needed to get there.
Next: Know your boundaries.
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