When you’re in a romantic relationship, it’s important for you and your partner to make decisions that make you both happy so you can enter the realm of fulfillment. When you are both fulfilled, you will enjoy the relationship more and challenge and engage each other more. Interestingly, having disagreements is crucial to reaching that place of fulfillment in your relationship.
Back in the ‘70s, Judith and I were moving into a new apartment and the two of us had knock-out, dragged-out level fights over where to place her pictures on the wall. I had an opinion; she had an opinion; other people had opinions. We went at it left and right until we eventually settled on something that satisfied both of us. It was a minor issue, but this idea of resolving your disagreements and coming to a common conclusion is key to a healthy relationship.
When Judith and I bought the Wisconsin campus to build the graduate school, we had only set aside so much money to fix it up. I wanted to put the money into the main building, while Judith wanted to put the money into fixing up our residence. She thought it was more important that we were comfortable. When we disagree, we have a system called “the highest denominator” where we see which of us has better judgment in an area. In this realm, I felt Judith’s value was higher so we put the money into building a comfortable residence hall. Looking back, she was spot on about where we should put our financial resources. And more importantly, our relationship survived.
Disagreements are a way to really get to know each other. When you’re dating someone, you should deal with your differences up front. If you can’t deal with your differences up front, what makes you think you’ll be able to deal with them later? Don’t let little landmines build up in your relationship. If you don’t like the way he picks his nose or the way she talks on and on for hours, you need to handle those issues right away.
This decision-making begins with your values, with the matters you think are important. I had heard that when you marry someone, you marry his or her family. It’s interesting – when I first met Judith, I was certainly taken with her but it wasn’t until I visited her family over Christmas that really did it for me. I met her family. I learned more about them. I saw her parents fight in the kitchen. After the holidays, I realized that I felt towards Judith the way my dad felt towards my mom.
Making decisions that fulfill both partners in the relationship is imperative to finding happiness as a couple. You shouldn’t be afraid to disagree – though you may argue and fight, these disagreements will only make your relationship stronger in the end, and lead to happiness for both of you.
Image courtesy Flickr user psycho-pics
Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.