All throughout history great leaders have had to face one simple question: Is this worth fighting for? The same question that make or breaks countries, determines the fate of history, and ultimately determines everything about who you are, also determines the fate of many relationships. Have you ever found yourself feeling like you are bickering with your partner, or feeling as if they are constantly complaining to you about your behavior? In the times where our beliefs or values conflict with the person we love, we must ask the same question that so many before us have asked: Is this really worth fighting for?
Most of us tend to think in judgements and we tend to think in black and white: this is right, or this is wrong kind of thinking. For example: most people believe stealing is wrong, honesty and truth are right, and that hurting people is wrong. But, what about other things that aren’t so simple, what about things like abortion, gay marriage, murder in defense of your country, religion, doing drugs, and driving recklessly in your car? All of these topics are highly polarizing, and you will mostly find a group of highly energized advocates on one side of the line, and another group of equally energized opponents. The problem is, that regardless of what you believe, there is almost always an equally convincing case on either side of an argument if you really pay attention to the logic of the standpoint.
Right and and wrong is really all about context: to a kid who grows up in the ghettos of LA, killing is a regular part of everyday life. Gangs are a way of survival, guns are a way to protect yourself, and selling drugs is a way of providing for the ones they love. For a kid from the suburbs, murder may be part of video games and television, but there is usually a clear line between make believe and real life, they would likely never point a gun with the intention to cause harm to someone else. Right and wrong is always subjective, it’s always affected by context, and it’s VERY difficult to define. What I think is right will almost certainly be different than what you think is right in life, but i’ll tell one thing I know for sure, and that is that there really is no right and wrong, just what we believe is right and wrong. It is radical, VERY radical to believe that there is no absolute right and wrong, but it is true. Right and wrong are what you create in your mind and nothing more.
Kill a bystander on a sidewalk and you are evil, shoot someone about to kill an innocent bystander and you are hero. Even if you believe something is wrong, you must realize that sometimes it can probably be used the right way.
We should learn to keep this in mind, especially in our relationships, because morality cannot be forced onto someone. If you believe something is wrong, all you can really do is let your lover know how you feel. If you truly believe something is wrong with what your partner is doing, you must realize one thing- they aren’t “bad”, maybe just bad for you- and you have 4 primary options: you can let it go completely and not make an issue of it (good for small things or minor habits your partner might have), you can tell them how you feel and see if they will respect your feelings and compromise (good for issues that cause significant pain or feelings of resentment, things like deeper beliefs or things that make you feel unappreciated or disrespected), forbid the behavior (this is the least desirable option as it creates sense of control and will often cause resentment), and finally leave the relationship (this is for issues that are in direct conflict with who you are and what you will tolerate).
So decide upfront what you can tolerate, where you can compromise, and what is acceptable in the context of your relationship. Most likely, you and the person you are with will have different ideas about a lot of different issues, 99% of the time we should aim to compromise with the person we love and try to meet each other halfway. By opening up communication and creating a safe and loving environment free of judgement within your relationship, you can often avoid a lot of the issues that come with values conflicts. If you feel one way, and your partner feels another, you should either learn to let it go (if it’s small enough), or work to find a solution that meets in the middle. Realize that it isn’t about right or wrong, its really about a conflict in values, and if you can’t be tolerant of another person’s beliefs and values, you probably shouldn’t be together.
It is best not to think in terms of right and wrong, and never think about winning or losing. Sometimes you should let things go, sometimes your partner should let things go, and sometimes you should both meet in the middle. You wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with someone just like yourself, trust me! Variety is the spice of life, and if you truly love someone, you must learn to allow them to be, even if its in direct opposition to yourself. If an issue truly conflicts with your values, then it is not a matter of them being wrong and you being right, but does come down to matter of is this person compatible with your standards and values?
Most of the time we should learn to let things go, we should communicate and compromise, but every once and a while we will meet an issue we can’t reconcile or compromise on then the issue becomes this: Is this worth fighting for, or in other words, am I willing to lose the person I love for this issue. Only you can decide the answer.
So the next time you find yourself getting upset about something your partner did or said, ask yourself this: “Am I willing to destroy this relationship over this?”. Most of the time the answer should be a resolute “no”, but if you the answer is yes, then you have some serious thinking and communicating to do with your partner.