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How to Negotiate with Your Partner.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         * Taken from my soon to be published book Negotiation Handbook for Couples: From conflict to connection  (Part II for this weeks’ entry on negotiation).

After having given you an idea about focusing and understanding your goals and their meanings the next step is to think about understanding your partner’s goals.  It is easy to get so hung up on making your point that you don’t think about what is happening with your partner.  Remember it’s not about getting your way, it’s about coming to an agreement that works for both of you.


In my bookNegotiation Handbook for Couples: From conflict to connection”

I suggest that you spend time understanding your partner’s goals and both the emotional and logical reasons for those goals.  Think about and find out as much you can about the other person’s perspective.

  • Why do they want what they want?
  • What are their objections/concerns because of what you want?

View them from two perspectives:

  1.  See the legitimacy behind your partner’s goals.  Understand that though you may not like or agree with your partner’s reasons, those reasons still are legitimate to that person, and it’s important to be respectful of them.
  2.  Recognize how  important it is to  relate to those concerns in a significant way.   Don’t try and argue with the person about their reasons.  Learn from them and see how you can be sensitive to their concerns/needs.

Below are three examples of what I mean:

  1. If your partner wants a vacation where they can rest and you want an exciting one, see if you can find some excitement where there is restful setting or vise versa.
  2. If your partner thinks you are being too controlling about finances, sit down and see if you can relate to how your partner would like to spend your collective money.  Then see if you can come up with a way where your partner feels they have input about how your funds should be allocated.
  3. If your partner is concerned about the lack of physical intimacy, work on figuring out what would motivate you to want to have that intimacy.

The point of the examples is to illustrate how to relate to your partner’s perspective and still be responsive to what’s important to you.

In my final entry for this week I will talk about the last part of the “Pre – Negotiation Stage” which will prepare you for the second step which I call the “Commitment Stage”.

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