Marriage Tips: Negotiate

The best way to work through marital issues is to negotiate. Unless the issue is of utmost importance, life or death, and no compromise can be considered, negotiating is the very best way to resolve problems to the satisfaction of both spouses. While neither one will end up with everything he nor she wants in most cases, both will come away having given something and having taken something. Negotiation is the perfect example of the give and take relationship.

The theme of give and take, or compromise, is found repeatedly throughout marital advice books and columns. That’s because it’s a key ingredient in a long, happy marriage. When we demand our own way, without compromise, the other person is left out, and that’s not healthy in a committed relationship.

Negotiating requires skill if it is to be done effectively. It takes practice. It also takes an openness, an ability to give up something in order to get anything out of the exchange. Thinking of it as an exchange is a good way to keep things in perspective. We’re trying to make a trade off that is fair for both spouses, one that will leave neither person feeling like he or she lost.

Talking through problems amicably and finding an acceptable resolution together is an integral part of a strong marriage. Spouses work together instead of against each other in such relationships.

It helps to discuss things calmly, with a specific objective in mind. Avoid trying to negotiate during a heated debate, and know what you want, what you can live with when it’s all said and done. It also helps to offer support for your position and to understand why your husband or wife is for against the issue.

If you want to buy a new car, but your spouse feels that you should wait, find out why instead of reacting immediately. It may be that he or she also wants to buy a new car, but just not at the present time. It could be that other expenses need to be taken care of first, such as paying off a credit card. When you discuss and negotiate, you’ll learn the reasoning behind your spouse’s opposition, and you may even find that you agree.