Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good vs. bad compromise in love, -Karen Salmanson (Oprah.com)

..There's a huge difference between "bad compromise" and "good compromise" in a relationship.

What makes for this difference?

• A "bad compromise" is changing your habits and self in such a way that you wind up becoming less of your full, authentic, thriving self.

• A "good compromise" is changing your habits and self in such a way that you grow more into your most full, authentic, best self

In my book "Prince Harming Syndrome," I offer some interesting love advice from Aristotle who explains that the reason why so many people are unhappy in life is because they choose mates simply for pleasure or utility. In other words, mates who are only sex-mates, ego-mates and/or wallet-mates.

Real-deal love happiness, according to Aristotle, comes from being involved in "a relationship of shared virtue," where you pick a mate who gets you at your core and lovingly inspires, challenges and supports you to become your best possible soul self.

"A relationship of shared virtue," therefore, is when you and your partner both welcome putting up with the temporary pain of personal change for the greater gain of personal growth -- or what Aristotle calls "the education of the soul."

According to Aristotle, this personal growth or "education of the soul" is definitely worth developing because every time you put forth the effort to stretch and strengthen your soul, you increase your overall happiness. Basically, he believed that true happiness comes from surrounding yourself with people, habits and experiences which help you grow into your best possible self.

With all this in mind, putting in the work of "good compromise" is a positive way to ensure you're stretching and strengthening your soul so you can grow into your best possible self and increase your overall happiness.

What is a good compromise? Here are some examples in action:

• When one partner requests the other to attempt to be a little neater or more organized.

• When one partner requests the other to take better care of their health and fitness.

• When one partner requests the other try to be a more direct communicator and to speak up more often. When one partner requests the other to speak less and listen more.

Or, to sum up "good compromise" in a highly memorable movie line, it's when Jack Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets says to Helen Hunt's character: "You make me want to be a better man."

Are you right now wondering whether a specific compromise request is a good compromise or bad compromise? If so, I want you take some time to quiet your mind and meditate on this question. Breathe in love, breathe out fear. Breathe in growth, breathe out stagnation.

Now ask yourself the following two questions:

1. Will this compromise request lead to someone compromising their authentic self -- their purpose for being here and their spirit's fiery flame of passion? Is this compromise request trying to add far too much "obey" into that "love, honor and obey" relationship formula? If so, this is a bad compromise.

2. Will this compromise request help empower someone's authentic self in order to boost them to become a better man or woman (as Jack Nicholson's character so succinctly put it)? If so, this is a good compromise.

Thankfully, the old me is now happily involved in a "relationship of shared virtue" which only involves good compromise.

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