Choose the Higher Value in Your Relationship Decisions

Filed in Living by on April 14, 2016 0 Comments

In our relationships we are often faced with decisions that involve competing values. It can be quite difficult to choose the higher value in these situations. However, making good choices as consistently as possible can have a dramatic effect on the quality of our relationships. I’ll provide a few examples to illustrate what I mean.

Let’s say you and your spouse disagree over two major expenditures, such as a new car vs. home improvements. Do you compromise, or do you need to get your way on everything? This is a choice between the values of power/dominance/control vs. equality/fairness. Equality and fairness are the higher, loftier ideals. Do you choose these?

What about when one of your children is struggling with their homework? You can see they need help, but you had a long day at work, and you just don’t want to deal with it. What value do you choose: comfort (your own) or helpfulness?

Or let’s say you and your spouse have a heated argument. You can decide to let it drop or just keep pushing your point. Do you choose winning at all costs, or the higher values of your spouse’s self-esteem and peace?

Recently I was faced with a choice of competing values in a situation involving my wife Elaine. In this case I chose the higher value, which was such a rare display of virtue on my part, I feel I must share it with you!

Elaine and I were discussing some recent development in the news and we disagreed about it. She was adamant that she was right, as was I. The next day there was a news article on the web that clearly (at least in my mind) supported my position. I considered showing it to her to prove my point from the day earlier, but I chose not to. In my mind, it was a choice between being “right,” or promoting peacefulness and humility in our relationship. I wisely chose to just keep my mouth shut and move on.

Choosing the higher value in relationship decisions can be very difficult, especially in the heat of the moment. It feels gratifying in the short-term to choose the low road. But the low road leads to…you know where! (Hell) We all make mistakes, but the more often you choose the higher value and loftier ideal, the happier you and the people around you will be.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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