Negotiation In Marriage

As a couples therapist I routinely see couples struggling with decisions which make nobody happy! Natalie wants one thing, Ned wants something else, (or so it seems). They then either slug it out emotionally until one person gets their way, or they “take their marbles and go home” – withdrawing into their respective corners with animosity because they couldn’t come to some kind of reasonable agreement.

Marriage and partnerships are all about negotiation, whether it’s when and where we go on vacation, or how and when we tackle home projects, or which school to send the kids to. The worst thing couples do is to come up with “win-lose” or “either-or” solutions. In negotiation language we call that a dismal failure. The aim instead is to move toward “both-and” or “win-win”solutions, where each partner may give something up, but also gets something important to them. So if Ned wants to spend time in the Fall working on home projects, and Natalie wants a trip, the goal is to see how either they can do both reasonably, or take turns getting their way. The most critical thing is to craft solutions which address key parts of each of their concerns, not polarize around differences.

How good a negotiator are you in your partnership?

Have a mutually good end of summer,

Susan Lager

About Susan Lager

ABOUT ME Susan Lager, LICSW, BCD I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC, lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with Thom, the sweet man I'm still married to after 34 years. (We have an awesome 29 year old son named Alec who will run the free world someday). I knew I'd survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the scenic, historic little city of Portsmouth, on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I was especially thrilled to attend the Portsmouth Psychotherapy Institute, an offshoot of the B.I.P., where I did post-graduate training, and then went into private practice creating The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy, with individuals, couples and groups. In 2010 I opened a division of the practice called COUPLESPEAK™, providing live and online coaching, training programs, workshops, and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. I'm still passionate about the work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they've taught me lots I'll pass on......
This entry was posted in Marriage, Negotiation. Bookmark the permalink.