Compromise: Two-Year-Old Thinking

By Michael Semon

November 1, 2015

compromise, relationships
Family Counseling Therapy Birmingham AL

(Video is at the bottom of this page.)

Compromise: Two-Year-Old Thinking

The Marriage Action Plan begins with Listening or emptying yourself of your agenda to know your partner. Triangles are the basic building block for all relationships and make up the road on which you are traveling. These lead us to the mile marker … Your Agenda. So what is the agenda you’re to empty yourself of if you’re to have a successful relationship? As I suggested before, if your partner can’t possibly meet your every want and need, how do you live in your partner’s “C” position and still know you are loved? This process begins early in life.

STAGE ONE: Two-Year-Old Thinking

Babies are born egocentric. Everything is about the baby. When a baby cries, mom rushes in and meets her child’s wants and needs because she loves him. When a baby cries, dad calls mom, not really, he meets the child’s wants and needs too. Children understand that parents meet their wants and needs because they love them. At two-years-old in the grocery store a new reality emerges. Waiting in the checkout line, a two-year-old looks at the candy bar rack and demands a candy bar. Mom says, “No.”

Her little darling throws an incredible fit, screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs because he wants the candy bar. He believes his mother should meet his every want and need and if she doesn’t then she must NOT love him.


In couple relationships the application of two-year-old thinking goes this way… If you really love me, you will meet my every want and need … If you don’t meet my every want and need, you must not love me. Obviously, Two-year-old thinking is immature manipulation and does not work in adult relationships. This is the agenda! Let me say it again…the Agenda you are to empty yourself of …. is to get another person to meet your every want and need or keep you in his or her “B” position. But there is another way…

STAGE TWO: Adult Thinking

As adults we understand that parents meet their children’s wants and needs because they love them AND that mothers tell their children NO because they love them.Each person in a relationship meets their partner’s wants and needs because they love them AND each person in a relationship should be able to tell their partner NO because they love them.

Often the person being told NO believes their partner is telling them NO because their partner does NOT love them. This is two-year-old thinking. For relationships to work, adults must graduate from A two-year-old mentality to adult thinking …How do you trust your partner to meet your wants and needs because they love you and trust your partner loves you when he or she does NOT meet your wants and needs? Is it possible that your partner is loving you by meeting your wants and needs? YES And is it possible that your partner is loving you by NOT meeting your wants and needs? YES.

Sex is always a topic of discussion in relationships. Could your partner’s refusing you sex be because your partner loves you? Yes, it could. Do you throw a two-year-old fit when you don’t get that candy bar? Do you care more about sex than about your partner? Do you want what you want when you want it? Can you empty yourself of that agenda? The adversity, struggle and disappointment that results from not having sex as often as you want … develops perseverance, which in turn creates character.

As each person in a relationship get’s some of their wants or needs met and believes their partner loves them even when they don’t get their wants and needs met, both people grow in the relationship. But this requires listening at an ever increasing level of emptying yourself of your agenda. Stage Two thinking can be thought of as two sources of contentment. The first source of contentment occurs as your partner meets some of your wants and needs.

I compare it to oil in an engine. If you don’t have enough oil in an engine the engine burns up. If you have too much oil in an engine the engine burns up. Just the right amount of affection, time together, kind words, acts of service keeps a relationship running smoothly. The second source of contentment may be compared to the power of an engine. When another tells you “No” you react, get frustrated or angry … which is normal. Having the emotional maturity to listen to your partner, and persevere through the adversity and hardship, this struggle is rewarded with a growing love for each other. The process works this way: Adversity results in perseverance, perseverance results in character or a stronger identity which leads to the hope that you are able to continue to grow as a couple overcoming your differences one step at a time. This is listening.

Eventually, as you look back over the years of life together, you appreciate your partner for not indulging your every want and need and having the courage to tell you NO even when you threw a two-year-old fit. So how does a two-year-old go from believing his mother is telling him NO because she doesn’t love him to believing she tells him NO because she does love him. How does a person grow from a two-year-old mentality to adult thinking in relationships? We will answer this question in our next video segment.

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