Negotiation: Valuable in Business and in Marriage

Couple Negotiating

Challenge: To negotiate with your partner until you are both satisfied (enough) with a jointly discovered and agreed upon solution when a conflict arises. Does this sound too business-like a strategy for marriage partners to engage in? On the contrary. Negotiation is as valuable a strategy in romantic relationships as it is in business relationships. When facing a conflict situation standoff with your spouse, treating them with respectful communication, a solution-oriented mind-set, and equity in considering alternatives, is invaluable when you successfully resolve the current conflict and simultaneously both gain calmness and satisfaction as well.

Takeaway: It’s just as appropriate to negotiate with your life partner!

In order to have a successful negotiation, though, you first need to become more willing to change your mind-set. This will involve embracing flexibility in your thinking when encountering differences of opinion with your partner. Essentially, it is very helpful to change your mindset from one where you believe you need to “win” (the argument or by getting the solution you want over your partner’s) to a mindset where you instead will consider more alternatives and possibilities in a chase for a solution where you will both “win” (by each being happy enough with the end-result and also with each other again).

Your next task will be to begin a process of discussion and negotiation with your partner. Remember that in a successful negotiation, one person wins something they want, and the other person wins something they want. For example, when a house or business is sold, one party wins the property or business, and the other person wins money.

Leave the negotiation satisfied and feeling as if you both “won.”

You should strive for something similar, where you each are happy with something you wanted to gain or with the proposed end-solution. Sometimes that will mean one person’s preference is taken as the solution this time around. Other times it will mean the other person’s preference is taken as the solution instead. Many times it may mean that neither of your originally desired wants or solutions becomes the winning plan. Instead, you may both need to sit down and write down many possible alternatives during a brain-storming session. Then you choose one solution to try first and perhaps that one is successful. Or, if not, you just continue on down your list in a process of trial and error, until you find the winning solution that pleases you both.

Remember that to have a successful negotiation, you also will need to use respectful communication with each other. Avoid angry name calling, foul language, insulting language, and other disrespectful communications. Your goals are not to intimidate or shame your partner into agreeing with you. Your goals are not to have your partner become hurt, resentful, or defensive, or to shut down and refuse to discuss an issue further. So don’t say or do things that would further those goals.

Instead, refocus your goals. Your goals are to resolve the problem, to both be happy with the solution, and to continue happy with each other.

Keep your eyes on the real prize and negotiate!

Go to to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!