“Partnership and Marriage”
by Chris Reinhardt, feedlot specialist
For those who are married, you may have heard someone say, “Marriage is hard. A good marriage takes work.” Although that sentiment is true at some level, understanding the foundation for a strong and happy marriage requires looking at marriage at a deeper level.
A successful marriage takes commitment and sacrifice. To people who have not built a long, successful marriage (or who have not raised children), those are just two words. In the context of marriage, “commitment” and “sacrifice” by necessity go together. People who want a successful marriage are both committed TO sacrifice.
Partnership, like a successful marriage, requires compromise. We can look at compromise as two people meeting each other half-way across a bridge over a river or chasm. People whose partnerships are doomed to fail are those who, at the opening of the partnership, say that the other partner must “meet me half-way”. The question then becomes, “Who determines where the half-way line is?” and the answer, is secretly, “I do.” The reason this mentality dooms the partnership to failure is that what I may have defined as the half-way point, the other party may define as barely having started across the bridge or is nearly all the way to the other side. If both parties think that the other party has barely started across the bridge from their respective sides, and feels that they alone are being asked to sacrifice and come the furthest across the bridge, there is no room for compromise. This partnership will fail.
Imagine a marriage in which both spouses only consider their own best interest or convenience or pleasure during decision conversations: every decision becomes an argument and a stalemate, and the relationship becomes strained and rife with distrust. Now imagine a marriage in which both spouses enter into each situation with only the best interest and happiness of their spouse at the root of their choices and decisions. Compromise becomes easy and uncomplicated, and the relationship thrives and leaps forward; the spouses grow in respect and trust for the other; opportunities abound.
For strong, lasting partnerships, each partner must make decisions that will not only benefit themselves if they do not benefit their partner. Each partner must be committed to sacrifice freedom in the short run in exchange for success, growth, and opportunity in the long run. Willingly (not strategically or grudgingly) giving up something for the benefit of the partner will build trust and strengthen the alliance.
Like a marriage, if partners go into the partnership with the illusion that the partnership will not involve sacrifice, then the partnership will crumble.