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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

I find the many couples don’t know how to negotiate with each other.  To help couples deal with their differences I often teach them negotiation skills.


The process I have developed to help Couples Negotiate is a combination of problem-solving and relating to the emotional needs of your partner and yourself.  Each stage will discuss the strategies involved in logical problem-solving and in the emotional intelligence aspects of relating to feelings and needs.

There are three stages to Couple’s Negotiation

Stage I – The Preparation Stage (Pre Commitment)

Stage II –The Negotiation – Commitment Stage (Pick & Shovel)

Stage III – The Connection Stage

In this stage there is commitment from both parties, and there is a feeling that the couple is closer as a result of the negotiation process.

At the end of each section there is a worksheet that you can use to help you to negotiate (note: These worksheets are in the manual I have not included them in the blog).

In this entry I will describe aspects of the first stage that I call “Pre- Commitment”.

The first step is to figure out what your goals mean to you. Here are 3 examples of goals that couples have:

  1. You want to go to a particular place for a vacation.
  2. You want to convince your partner to spend less.
  3. You want to increase your physical intimacy with your partner.

Here are examples of the underlying meaning of these goals.

You want a vacation:

        Meaning:  you want a chance to relax and to find something interesting to do.

You want some control of the money:

        Meaning:  You want to have more of a handle on the family finances; or conversely, you feel deprived and controlled because you don’t want your partner telling you what to do.

You want increased physical intimacy with your partner:

        Meaning:  intimacy will help you to feel closer to your partner, you want to feel wanted, or you want to relieve stress.

It is important in effective negotiation to not only know what you want, but to know why you want it.


In the next blog I will talk about understanding your partner’s goals


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