The Gentle Art of Compromise

For all the talk about how the wedding is the bride’s day to the exclusion of everyone else, the fact remains that a lot of different people have a big stake in the event. There are parents, siblings, friends, religious communities, vendors, and the list goes on. Most of all, there’s the person you’re marrying. He – or she – is kind of important.

Obviously, there are ways to minimize the amount of concern you absolutely have to pay to many of these people in planning your wedding. Don’t accept money from anyone you don’t want to have a say in how you spend it. Keep plans close to your chest when talking with disapproving sorts. Remind others that you’ve been supportive of their plans and expect them to show you the same courtesy.

In the longrun, though, you’re going to have to compromise with someone about something in the course of your plans, including your intended. How do you do it effectively? Read on for some tips.

1: Come to the table prepared to negotiate. This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes we sit down without being really ready to work on the problem. Before you sit down, think about at least a couple things you’d be willing to alter or omit if the other person has really good reasons not to do them. Just don’t blurt out what you’re willing to give on before you’ve begun the discussion. Also remember that compromise is a two-way street. You should get your way about something.

2: Be Clear About Your Preferences. You need to be able to articulate what it is you want and why. Sometimes it’s easier to persuade people to your point of view if you can explain why it matters so much to you.

3: Open your ears and your mind. You need to be able to listen when someone else is explaining their position. They may have good points you haven’t considered. They may not. You’ll never know for sure if you don’t really listen. Their ideas may even be better than yours.

4: Play fair. Don’t bring up the time you let him watch football when you wanted him to take you to the latest romantic film. By the same token, don’t let him remind you of the time you wanted to watch football while he wanted to treat you to a romantic dinner. This is about your wedding, not about who did the dishes last or whether you made nice with his hygenically challenged cousin. Keep the discussion about your wedding.

5: Remember that creativity is your friend. Sometimes you can make a mountain out of a molehill if you forget that there can be a middle ground between many positions. Try to see the possibilities of marrying two seemingly incompatible visions. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with. So what if nobody has ever seen an Art Deco Pirate wedding? If you can see how it fits together, you can make it happen. You may even start a trend!

6: Can’t compromise? Bring in a neutral third party. Look, we all need a hand now and again. There’s no shame in it. Just make sure you really pick someone who doesn’t have a major stake in the decision. No fair bringing in your mother to side with you about why your mother should bake the cake instead of his sister.

Negotiating a compromise can be difficult, true. But if you both learn it before the wedding, you’ll have a great tool to help you navigate marriage successfully.

One Response to “The Gentle Art of Compromise”

  1. La BellaDonna says:

    A good phrase to remember: Is this the hill that I want to die on? – something to think about when “compromise” seems to degenerate into “fight”.