Before my husband and I got married, we did premarital counseling with the pastor at my church. We had some really valuable conversations, but one piece of advice has been particularly useful in navigating the world of compromise.
Rate that on a scale of 1 to 10.
My pastor suggested that sometimes when you’re making a decision together – whether you’re deciding where to go to dinner or whether or not to go into business – it can be useful to rank how strongly you feel on a scale from 1 to 10. This helps your partner recognize how important your preference is to you and can help you be more sensitive in conversation with each other.
We use this strategy to decide where we want to go on Sunday afternoons and which movie we want to watch (because it’s useful to know if you just suggested that we go get hamburgers because you didn’t want to be lame and not suggest anything or if you’ve been craving this exact thing for two weeks and will be super disappointed if you don’t get it right now).
But it’s also handy when you’re having an emotionally charged or difficult conversation. I think most people want to be respectful of their partner’s feelings, but that can be hard when you’re talking past each other or focusing on different priorities.
I hope you’re able to try out this idea. Let me know if it’s useful to you or if you try something like this with the people you love in your life!