How to reach compromise & stop arguing and with your partner.

Compromise fails when human defects sabotage any attempt at leadership.

In the end intolerance kicks in and arguments ensue. I wrote a song about tolerance that as inspired by my own experiences of heated situations. (Included on my last album Dancing For The Money Man) I didn’t like the way I was reacting to people and so studied this in order to increase my ability to accept compromise.

cave man and woman learning compromise

These types of situations are often difficult due to a broad range of possible dynamics at play. Your own situation will have all its own unique characteristics due to your own particular human mix. Without further information it is impossible to recommend anything specific in your particular situation however there are some fundamental aspects that can be discussed.

Problem number 1

The first problem at hand is that we have two people attempting to take a leadership role at the same time. If those people have different considerations and are prioritising different outcomes, then compromise becomes impossible. Once frustration becomes apparent in one person then this will likely move any academic investigation into becoming a personal emotional clash. Once emotions become prevalent then deeper damaging disagreement is more likely. The situation will deteriorate into impatience, personal attack and disrespect.

Problem number 2.

The second problem is stubbornness! When two people both refuse to relinquish the throne of direction and insist on being the CEO of absolute answers, then compromise becomes impossible and a blockage remains apparent for any potential resolution. This can result in ‘bad atmosphere’. Often… each partner can end up gravitating toward their own private side-line confidante for support. A convenient friend who will usually support their position and allow them to feel a level of self justification. This can sometimes result in resolution as the side-line audience gets together and encourages a solution. Sometimes it just encourages further division.

Problem number 3.

Repetitive strain. When a dysfunctional exchange becomes routine and each party predictably arrives into the same unacceptable mode of thinking for each other then the exact same private complaints are strengthened each time. “She’s so narrow minded” or… “He’s so selfish” or whatever. This simply serves to sabotage any possibility of future agreement and compromise in similar situations as each party loses faith in each other ahead of time. This basic loss of respect usually allows a discussion to become emotional very fast.

Working toward compromise.

The first thing I would recommend is that you both read the above together. If you can both reach agreement on the actual dynamics at play here then you stand a chance of fixing it. In order to fix it you both must accept that:

  1. Both of you end up becoming emotional due to a clash of leadership roles.
  2. You both have your own unique human defects coming into play that prevent resolution.
  3. You have both been guilty of some level of disrespect or dissent for the other over time.


The next step should be to confirm the value you bring each other.

What do you like about each other? can you both identify strengths and benefits  you each bring to the table for the other? What are the things that bond you guys? Remind yourselves of that and celebrate that. By doing this you will confirm the positives about your relationship. This will then provide a fantastic basis for moving positively into addressing these small issues of clashing at times of challenge. One good exercise would be for you both to go away from each other into separate rooms and note down ten things you each like and value about the other. Afterwards read them out to each other one by one!

Next… ask each other; “If there was one thing you would improve about my attitude, what would that be?”

It is important that both accept the others view on this as valid and worthy of addressing. Compromise here is essential. The first rule of any great relationship is to address all concerns. When concerns are cleared away then we arrive into sublime harmony! Each will then agree to acknowledge and work on those defects each have identified as concerns. Particularly in relation to problem solving.

Approach to challenges.

A good idea would be to agree a new approach to any challenges life throws forth. By establishing a ‘problem resolution procedure’ you can introduce a system that can serve to short circuit your human defects and personal priorities therefore allowing the foundations for a compromise. A suggested system could be;

  1. Employ a code phrase that when one of you announces it, you both understand that it is the sacred signal for immediately employing your ‘problem resolution procedure’. Your code phrase could be something like ‘Houston, we have a problem’ (the phrase used by mission control at NASA when a space launch developed an issue!) Once the code phrase is issued by one of you then the following steps are implemented:
  2. Both parties take a little time to note down 3 main ways this new situation impacts them both as a partnership and three ways it effects both personally.
  3. Both parties come back together and compare these notes.
the following stages MUST be performed with a calm, relaxed pleasant attitude. Both parties MUST enter ‘first date mode!’ no excuses! Make the effort to remain collected and NICE! Maybe avoid the flirting!

When comparing notes: it must be agreed that all concerns are valid.

The number one most important thing in any great relationship is the determination to address each others concerns.

When each party sees that the other truly wishes to take care of their concerns then the value trade is complete. The relationship can thrive. Nobodies concern is more valid than the other person’s concern .. UNLESS AGREED!

Once the final impact list is agreed and both parties fully appreciate each other’s concerns, and respects those concerns, then it is time to get creative! This is the point at which solutions can be discussed. Compromise is becoming a reality already!


So, first we agreed there was a mutual problem to be addressed, we then identified each other’s concerns and we then acknowledged and accepted those concerns with respect and love. Now we must decide the solution. This stage is a storming session. Nothing is to be immediately decided, we are merely considering our options. As each party brings forward an option it is listed. Options can be suggested for listing in accordance with the concerns already listed earlier. Once all options are listed and ideas are exhausted then we move to the solution analysis stage.

Solutions analysis.

Each solution should be considered in respect to ramifications. Things to be considered are:

  • Does this proposed solution counter the problem?
  • Will this proposed solution create new problems?
  • Does this solution harm anyone else in any way?

If a proposed solution creates a new unacceptable problem/concern for any one of the parties then it is immediately rejected.

When a solution counters the problem without creating any new issues for either party then it is accepted.

If a solution solves the problem but harms someone else then this is usually unacceptable and should be rejected.

Thinking of yourselves as great detectives working together to solve a mystery is a great way to re-imagine your approach to problem solving.

Holmes and Dr Watson on the trail of the great solution! Along the way your human defects might re-emerge, but by realising our part in this and making amends to each other as we go, we can maintain that level of continued trust, honesty and respect required for a great sustainable partnership and compromise. Tolerance becomes present!


It is vital throughout this process that each person remains calm and has a determination NOT TO REACT to each others defects. If both parties agree to work on personal defects then as one person displays frustration, anger, impatience or intolerance then the other should just gently smile and say something calmly like “oops… was that a little defect trying to escape there?” (or whatever works)  The sense of a productive partnership can be maintained by keeping things light and on course for mutual development.

Check out the track “Tolerance” off my album “Dancing For The Money Man

This album would be a great addition to any persons music collection interested in positive personal influence coming from a music artist committed to helping through music whilst keeping it real! Support me if you can! Thanks! (listen to tolerance here on the front page of this site)

Basil Simon

Musical life coach

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Thanks! You Rock!

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