Workable Compromise

Workable Compromise What do you do when the person you are dating or married to disagrees with you on what to do or how to do it, whatever "it" is? What do you do when your interests or opinions are in direct conflict with the wants, needs, or feelings of the other? What do you do when you simply want different things? Navigating such differences is a key in making relationships work. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a workable compromise you can both live with, at least for a while.
The spirit of a workable compromise can include such general approaches as the following:

*My way when I do it, your way when you do it
*My way this time, your way next time
*Part of what I want with part of what you want
*If you'll do this for me, I'll do this for you
*We'll try it my way this time, and if you don't like it you can veto it

Sometimes just asking about and discussing your differences with these approaches can naturally lead to a workable compromise, as long as the discussion is civil, respectful, collaborative, and empathetic to where the other is coming from both directions. In other more challenging circumstances, a more formal exercise may be needed to create your compromise, perhaps even a bishop or professional psychotherapist. In tougher cases, you may wish to try one of these two mutual compromise approaches and if neither work, find a 3rd party mediator to help and referee your differences:

Approach 1: Reflective Listening

Reflective listening is a special kind of listening where the listener doesn't respond back to what is told to them with an answer. Instead, the response involves summarizing or paraphrasing back what is said in an effort to demonstrate understanding where the other person is coming from. To use reflective listening to create a workable compromise: 1) one person opens up with their ideas, suggestions, or recommendations on how they would like a situation or circumstance to be dealt with. 2) the second person summarizes back what the first person said without comment, criticism, or opinion, 3) the first person either confirms that either the summary is correct or if not, additional clarification is given, 4) the first person finally agrees that what they are saying is what the other heard, 5) the second person follows the same process on the same general subject, 6) when both sides agree they have been heard, they then ask/see if a workable compromise can be agreed upon, considering both sides in the equation.

Approach 2: Brainstorming

Brainstorming is simply talking out loud about numerous possible/potential approaches or decisions to a scenario. To attempt to use brainstorming to create a mutual compromise, do the following:

1) One person gives their suggestion/recommendation/idea on how an issue should be approached or decided on and writes it down on a piece of paper. 2) Without commenting on or critiquing the suggestion just given by the other person, the second person then also gives their own suggestion/recommendation/idea on how they think an issue should be approached and also writes that idea down on the paper. 3) Both sides continue to take turns offering as many ideas as comes to mind on possible ways to decide on or approach the situation without ever putting down the other's suggestions. 4) After both sides have given all of their ideas, each side take a turn crossing off the ideas that they like the least one at a time until one idea is left--the idea each side dislikes the least. 5) An effort is then made to see if there is a way to combine/blend the final 2 best ideas into a workable compromise they can live with--part of what one wants with part of what the other wants.

In sum, whether an informal approach is taken to create a workable compromise or one of the 2 more formal approaches above are tried, the idea is to create and agree upon a compromise that both sides can agree to try. Often when an agreed upon compromise is actually put into practice, both sides do find they like the result. And often the best result is that both sides feel heard and considered in the decision, thus preserving feelings and the relationship. Remember that getting along is often more important than getting your way, so please compromise and work with each other. Be considerate and collaborate, not selfish and inconsiderate. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Best wishes,
Dr. G

2016-02-18 Randy Gilchrist Communication, Conflict resolution

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to