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Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.
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to settle a dispute over the amount of time the children spend between their
parents? Don’t compromise!
is overrated. In fact, I don’t even like it as a concept.
compromise suggests giving something up to gain elsewhere. The problem with
that is, no one ever wants to give up anything. No how. No way.
the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines compromise as the “settlement of
differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions.”
soon as one suggests arbitration, the matters of contention and settlement of
those matters are already outside the control of those subject to the
conflict. These persons don’t even have control of the outcome. It is
difficult to accept a resolution where you have give something up, likely not
of your choosing and the outcome is beyond your control. This compromise may
thus be doomed to failure from the get-go as the mere process of achieving it
precludes accepting it.
Rather than talk of compromise, I like to speak of prioritize.
me give you some examples.
a long renovation, my wife and I had to choose paint colors. Now you have to
know that my wife and I are two very different personalities. In short, I am
gregarious and my wife is quiet. Hence my choice of colors fall towards loud
primary colors and my wife’s fall towards muted earth tones.
an effort to achieve mutual satisfaction with a color scheme, my wife
suggested we each chose one color from the color palette and that would form
the basis of our color scheme. In short, compromise.
tried and ended with very mismatching colors. Upon her insistence we tried
again… and again. Each time resulted in a clash of colors. Some colors just
don’t work well together.
suggested she chose the colors outright. She was concerned though that I
wouldn’t like her choices. I told her, I don’t have to like her color
choices, I have to like her. I long since realized that while colors fade, I
want my marriage to remain intact and shine brightly to the end of our lives.
wife made great choices, just not what I would have chosen. Not bad
whatsoever, just different from my would-be selection. However, by playing to
my “priority”, a loving relationship with my wife, I didn’t feel like I
had given up anything at all. Indeed, I felt we both came away winners.
wife applied the same concept when we had to decide on the choice of size for
our kitchen island. She too set our relationship as the priority and I chose
the kitchen island. We remain happy with each other because at the end of the
day, each other remains our top priority.
apply this concept of “prioritizing” to separated parents duking it out
over the quantum of time children spend in their respective care. With each
parent arguing over seemingly precious hours and minutes or days, they lose
sight of the fact that a wholesome relationship and life-long relationship
with their children come adulthood, is not determined by the quantum of time,
but the reduction of parental conflict and meaningfulness of the time spent in
each others company.
your priority as a parent is to facilitate responsible human beings, capable
of loving and productive lives and to have a life-long relationship with them,
then quantum of time is no longer a fight worth having. Indeed playing to your
priority, you can have far less direct time, but a more meaningful and
fulfilling life with your children given the actual time available. That will
be your children’s legacy and your priority will have been met with nothing
your children and certainly love them more than you love winning. Love your
children more than keeping conflict alive. As conflict flourishes, children do
not. With your children’s lifelong well-being and a peaceful co-existence
with their other parent as the priority, your children and your relationship
with them will flourish.
all about setting your priority carefully. Children’s well-being first.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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