Relationships: Choosing Between Toleration and Confrontation
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Relationships: Choosing Between Toleration and Confrontation

Everyone aims for a harmonious relationship or marriage, thus many compromises are made. How then do we walk the tightrope when we are caught up between speaking up and shutting up?

It is a known fact that entering a long-term relationship involves making many decisions that will in one way or the other affect each partner or spouse. Everyone aims for a harmonious relationship or marriage, thus many compromises are made. Yet, it has also been mentioned over and over that communication and openness is the key its success. How then do we walk the tightrope when we are caught up between speaking up and shutting up?

In a relationship conflicts will arise, for sure. We have two choices: either we deal with it head on or we just let it pass and set it aside in our emotional cupboard (which can later be filled up).

Dealing with Conflict

Here are some questions to ask ourselves or one another when you suspect a conflict is brewing:

1. What do I really want and what does my partner/ spouse want?

2. Are our demands mutually exclusive? (In other words, will our demands only satisfy only one or only the other at a time?)

3. What are the consequences for us if I prioritize my partner’s need over mine?

4. What are the consequences for us if I prioritize my need over my partner’s?

5. Is a compromise possible?

Clearing up these things in the minds of both partners, often, one has to give in order for the relationship to be harmonious. It should be understood by both sides that they have worked out all the possible consequences and therefore they know what to work on. Because they are both aware of the effects of their mutual decision, they did not simply tolerate each other’s wants or requests. This is of vital importance in a healthy relationship.

The Eventual Effects of Toleration

Because few people are saints, tolerating one another’s foibles, wants, or unwanted habits for too long without getting some sort of return, resentment inevitably sets in. It happens and it is a fact that has to be dealt with later, whether we like it or not.

There will always be a risk. To confront a partner dealing with a highly emotional subject is risky. Remember too, where the risks are highest, potential payoff can be greatest. By keeping silent and not taking risks in dealing with our personal relationships will help us master the art of gray mediocrity, and at worst a gradual deterioration of our self esteem and relationship. If constant tolerance is the choice made, then get ready for a “zombie relationship.”

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Comments (4)

This was an excellent article and very sound advice!

well thought out and positive article

Very insightful article about intimate relationships.

Great perspectives

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