Choose Your Battles

This week’s post by staff writer Frank Friedlander is about the necessity of knowing when to pick your battles. With so many other problems that can be had in relationships, can’t we all just learn compromise?

One important thing that anyone in a relationship must eventually learn to do is to carefully choose his or her battles. Let’s face it, nobody is going to win all of their battles, and if the same side always wins, the other side will end up very unhappy, and thus, the relationship short-lived.  This is not to say that one should not put up a bit of a fight here and there when it comes to battles which he or she knows that they are not likely to win, and frankly does not particularly care about.

At this point, you’re probably asking me to back up the truck a bit. Why would one even attempt to fight a battle which they have no intention of winning? More importantly, why would one bother fighting a battle if the cause is of minimal importance at most? The reason simply is to ensure that the invisible scoreboard hanging in each household is as close to tied as possible.

What it comes down to is the fact that we all make compromises in order to keep our partner happy. In many cases, we may have our own preference, but the end result is of far more importance to our significant other. When something is of utmost importance to my wife, even if I may not necessarily agree with what she wants, I will gladly let her have it; however, at times I will put up some degree of a struggle all the same. Why? To chalk up a victory for her.

You still don’t quite get it? As I explained two paragraphs up each household has that imaginary scoreboard, and we want to ensure that said scoreboard is as close to tied as often as possible. With this in the back of my mind, every time I give in, affording her a victory, by right, there should be a victory coming to me at some point. It does not necessarily have to be any time soon either. It could be later that day, later that week, or just to stick in my back pocket for a later date.

For example;
Her: “So where would you like to go for
Me: “I could sure go for Sushi”
Her: “I’m not in the mood for Sushi, how about <insert name of overpriced Italian eatery, which as far as I’m concerned is no different from The Olive Garden>”
Me: “Ugh, we just had Italian the other day. How about Sushi, or at least Thai. Or, we could go to “Sushi Thai” for the best of both worlds”
Her: “You always want Asian*. Can’t we just have Italian?”
*always wanting and ever getting are two very different things
Me: “Remember three moths ago when I let you chose those purple bath towels, when I wanted the ones with The Cub’s logo?”
Her: “…yes?!??”
Me: “well I let you have that, so can we just get some Sushi tonight instead?”
Her: “<irritated sigh> fine, we can get Sushi, but I get to pick the place”
Me: “done”

And men, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can try to switch the word Sushi with 52” Flat Screen TV or Playstation 3, but I think that you get the picture. Remember; there are certain times in the year, or in certain situations for nine months straight, in which you just need to let her score that extra point regardless. Why? As a great man once said,  “’cause droids don’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose.”

Play nice now.


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Too Picky or Not Picky Enough?

When we try to figure out why it is that we can never seem to find “The One”, the usual response is that you can’t find love because you’re too picky. But, is that really the  case? Most of us, whether we openly admit it or not, have a list of things we want in our ideal mate. For some, it’s a simple list like: “I want someone we want someone calm and loving”; “for others it could be: “I want someone hot, rich, powerful, great in bed, and worships the ground I walk on, etc.” There’s really no right or wrong list since each list is a culmination of what’s important to us; it changes and grows as we grow and change.

For the sake of argument, let’s look at both sides of the question. First, “Am I being too picky?” Don’t I deserve to have someone tailor made to me? Is it really too much to want someone perfectly model gorgeous? As mentioned earlier in the post,  it’s all about  what’s important to you.

When making a list of things we want in a mate, we feel we’re being responsible and even smart in our approach to finding love. While getting your thoughts and needs down on paper as a sort of guide has some pros, it can also have some cons. In making the list, we give ourselves the opportunity to really think about what we need from another person to be happy in a relationship. On the other hand, being tunnel-visioned on the contents of that list can make us blind to other options and make us blind to the person we’re really meant to be with.

On the other side of that, you can also not be picky enough. Sometimes, we see not limiting ourselves by having a list of what we do or don’t want in a mate as freeing and a better option. I would say that this is a dangerous state. While it’s usually a good thing to keep our options open, sometimes it’s wiser to have some kind of plan or vision of how you want your relationship to be and the type of person who will fit the role of your ideal mate. Compromise is a necessary in any successful relationship, but there’s a difference between compromise and sacrificing our needs to make a relationship fit. Accepting just anyone because you want love and affection is a much worse option to being alone.  Sometimes a long internal look can satisfy a picky approach AND a “let chips  fall as they may” approach. Who says love can’t be emotional AND cerebral?

Are We Letting Our Relationship Battles Become Relationship Wars?

We’ve all at some point been guilty of doing this at some point in the relationship. I’ve made this same mistake myself as recently as last night. I was having a bad afternoon and was looking to my significant other to make it all better by putting him on the spot by asking him to go into detail about what he loved about me and why. Now, in the moment, I felt completely justified in demanding this. I made myself completely deaf to the other ways he was trying to reassure me. He tried to get to the bottom of my mini meltdown and show me that he had my back, but he didn’t give me what I wanted in the time I was demanding it. So as far as I was concerned, he was only making the problem worse. I let myself get so caught up in my darkness that I didn’t see the light of my lover trying to bring me out and show me that it wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be. I let that darkness continue to spread into the evening to a phone conversation that went from bad to worse to a point in which we had to call a truce before things were said that could not be taken back. In our case, we had learned from past mistakes and were able to see the traps before we fell into them again. We’ve taken a couple of days to focus on our lives to let things cool off. This is a method I highly recommend as further conversation would have ended with no victory for either side. We have to realize that compromise doesn’t mean a loss of power. It just means a reassignment of what is really important.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that your relationship has been plagued with problems that blow up unnecessarily? Comment on this post and discuss!