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!

In Love? How to Count Your Blessings…

Beautiful young romantic couple near window

Can you think of at least 30 things that you love about the love of your life?

That’s great if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t right this instant.

Here are some ideas to get your mind flowing with memories of things that you enjoy about your partner. If some of these don’t quite fit for your fellow or gal, just use these as a springboard for your own ideas to emerge about what you do love about your partner.

It’s very important for each person in a couple to recognize what is special about the other and then to express appreciation to each other for those special qualities, those blessings in your life. Regularly expressing appreciation for your partner can be a great relationship-booster through the years.

Here are over 30 qualities that a partner may love and appreciate about their soul-mate. See if any of these are qualities in your partner too, and keep thinking about other things you appreciate about your special person.

“I love their…”

  1. Smile
  2. Sense of humor
  3. intelligence
  4. Strength
  5. Athleticism
  6. Body
  7. Quirkiness
  8. Sentimental side
  9. Way they challenge me to be better
  10. Sense of adventure
  11. Self-confidence
  12. Work ethic
  13. Curiosity
  14. Way of showing love
  15. Way of showing respect
  16. Fun-loving nature
  17. Honesty
  18. Cleanliness
  19. Organizational skills
  20. Leadership abilities
  21. Financial know-how
  22. Friendliness
  23. Way of really knowing/getting me
  24. Sexiness
  25. Helpfulness
  26. Agreeableness
  27. Flexibility
  28. Easy going nature
  29. Sense of responsibility
  30. Talkativeness
  31. Calmness
  32. Cooperativeness
  33. Emotionality
  34. Social planning skills
  35. Affectionate ways
  36. Cooking creativity
  37. Street smarts
  38. Dedication to me
  39. Resourcefulness
  40. Love and skill as a parent
  41. Passion for life
  42. Encouraging nature
  43. Kindness
  44. Dedication to family
  45. Selflessness
  46. … ?

Hopefully there are many ideas in there to get you started on your own list about your partner’s strengths that you count as blessings in your life. Remember to tell your partner regularly how much you appreciate their different qualities throughout the months and years. Then you will be able to add ‘remembering our 30th year anniversary in a grand way’ to the list someday too!

Friendly Competition in Couples


Competition: Too Much vs. Too Little

Competition, often associated with arguing and fighting, is usually considered a negative aspect within a relationship. But did you know that in a relationship where there is too little competition, there might be less passion? Utilizing some friendly competition can help you achieve a happy medium which will keep your relationship interesting and fun.

Spice Up Your Life With Friendly Competition

Doing activities together that provide a means to enjoy some friendly competition can go a long way in keeping your relationship interesting and exciting. In a 2009 study by Kelton Research, 80% of respondents indicated that they would enjoy playing video games with their partner. While it might not be the most romantic of activities, it provides both individuals the opportunity to compete against each other in a healthy way. MSNBC conducted a similar study which identified that 55% of respondents actually do play video games together as a couple activity. This type of activity provides a fun thing to do together, and can also be used to release tension and stress.

Competitive Activities

There are tons of fun activities that can be used. For example: ping-pong, pool/billards, darts, chess, tennis, foosball, various board games, etc. While many games were originally designed to be played by more than two players at a time, they can be easily converted to meet your needs.

How “Friendly Competition” Works

Playing against each other can be thrilling, but sometimes it can bring out undesirable outcomes. Put extra effort into being a good team player by being supportive, and offering genuine acknowledgements on their achievements (whether they win or lose in the end). Do your best to find activities that both of you are nearly equal matches in, so that the win/lose ratios for either individual is never too extreme. Remember also, that your significant other is your teammate for life. With that in mind, many couples enjoy teaming up with their partner against other opponents. If you or your partner feel this way, be understanding. You can always arrange to challenge each other at a different time.

Remember: While some competition can keep your relationship exciting, success only comes to those that have positive experiences. Both individuals in the relationship need to demonstrate respectful, supportive behaviors, and keep the game fun for everyone.



Healthy Couples Get Physical

Senior Couple On Bicycles

You want to have a long-lasting and happy relationship, right? Have you considered that in order for that to possibly happen, both you and your partner will need to maintain your health so you can continue to enjoy each other’s company through the decades?

Doctors tell us that exercising more will help us to have longer, healthier lives. Fortunately there are additional things that can help us individually and as a couple to be more inclined to get our bodies moving. Exercise is also important to many for fun, excitement, competition, and camaraderie.

So how can you incorporate this wondrous thing called exercise into your lives as a couple? If each of you already have separate routines or interests with physical activity, it will be important to honor each other’s interests and time needs for those exercise routines, sports activities or other physical activities.

Here are some ways to honor your individual time needs to pursue your physical activity interests.

  1. Attempt to coordinate exercise times to fall on similar time schedules whenever possible.
  2. If your partner uses exercise to calm down, blow off steam, or as their alone time, be supportive of that and do not insist on going along with them each time or make them feel guilty for wanting to go alone.
  3. If your partner genuinely welcomes you or encourages you to become more involved with their exercise plans, you could try learning your partner’s sport or joining your partner’s gym, and/or become a support person in some other way… such as by attending their sports games or events.

If you want to get more physically active while also spending more time together as a couple, here are some other ideas.

  1. Take lessons or get coaching to improve at something or to do a new physical activity together, such as in sports (co-ed soccer league, tennis, golf), with dancing (salsa, ballroom), or at the gym (yoga, cross-fit)
  2. Do something together that you don’t do often enough but both know how to do, in a new scheduled-in routine, such as bicycling, walking, running, swimming
  3. Go dancing at some clubs more often
  4. Join a health club or the YMCA and go together. Keep an eye out for any extras they offer that you might be able to take advantage of together, such as adult sports leagues, racquetball or tennis courts.
  5. Acquire some exercise equipment for use at home
  6. If neither of you are that physically oriented or you prefer milder exercise, at least go for regular walks together 3-4 times per week for half an hour or longer. This will get your body moving and give you some health benefits too. Walking can also provide you with dedicated time for each other- time when you can touch for increased physical closeness (you can hold hands) and talk for increased emotional closeness (you can talk without interruption from computers, work, kids, chores).

Now, some of you (wise-guys and gals) might be thinking, “Hey, we should just have more sex and get more physical activity in the bedroom!” Well, if your doctor thinks that will be enough, who am I to say otherwise? So, go ahead. Check with your doctor. But he or she will probably just raise an eyebrow, smile and tell you that you’ll need to get more exercise outside of the bedroom too!

So, be supportive and encouraging with each other when it comes to physical activity and exercise. Be willing to find ways to incorporate physical activity into your life, and within your relationship or marriage as part of your plan for a long-lasting, and happy relationship. And to stay motivated, remember that you, your doctor and your partner all want you to live a long and healthy life!