It was a beautiful Monday morning. I took my inline skates and headed off along the Vltava. At Troja there was a woman struggling up the steps with a pushchair and tugging on the hand of a small child. I helped her and she said: “Thank you, you’re a gentleman.”
And there we have it. What is a gentleman?
It’s from the English words gentle-man, or kind man.
As for Kind? Well, that has strong associations with love.
The rest of the way, I slowed down and thought about how small kindnesses are often enough to show that we appreciate the value of our partner and relationships, and for our partner to be happy for us and for our relationship.
You’re sure to be amused by what little things these are. Yet the little things make the whole. And, as I write in my book it is the little things that are missed most in a relationship…
Don’t worry, they’re not difficult, and are actually pleasant for you both…
First kindness: Compromise in the right direction
There are no two identical people in the world. So, in a relationship there are partners with a different past, a different view of the world, different values, wishes and a unique way in which they make their dreams come true. It’s natural to disagree.
Stupid people start to argue. They don’t understand that they may end up arguing constantly and with everyone, as no one has the same opinions, experience and thought processes that they have.
Wise people learn to compromise. Compromise is wrongly seen as both sides conceding. NO! If each of the partners facing one another takes a step back, they get further away from the other. A relationship is just the opposite. Compromise means taking an accommodating step towards one another.
An example from my life:
I like football. On the TV, too. I’d happily watch it every evening. But my partner doesn’t like football. Certainly not on TV. Certainly not every evening.
On the other hand, my partner likes massages. My massages, I should add. Neck, lower back, feet. Ideally she’d like to have one every evening. Yet a massage takes up my time. So certainly not every evening.
So how to resolve our two differences?
Psychology differentiates between two terms. Compromise as a concession, or the unfulfilled expectations of both parties. And then consensus as an agreement in the sense of a victory for all. My partner and I have decided to each take a step to the side. Neither of us is completely satisfied, but we both get what we like. How come? Well, if I switch on the TV and watch football, I have to give my partner a massage.
For her it’s a dream come true, as I massage her for at least two hours straight. For me it’s also a dream come true, as she lets me watch football.
What are the biggest kindnesses in communication between two partners? How to understand someone who thinks differently to the way we do?
Please, continue to the 2nd page.