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!

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!


Romantic Marriage Proposal Ideas for Florida (Part 1)


Ready to pop the question to the love of your life? That’s terrific! Here are some ideas in and around the state of Florida to help you in your quest to deliver a fabulous marriage proposal that will end with the coveted “yes” you seek and start you on your journey towards a lifetime of love.

 Unique Proposal Ideas:  

  1. While on a romantic stroll next to the river in Hillsborough State Park, in Thonotosassa, FL. Or, if you’re more adventurous, pop the question while paddling your canoe in the river with glimpses of alligators who will bear witness to your profession of love. – Hillsborough County
  1. During a romantic gondola ride on the waterways of Ft. Lauderdale, FL near Las Olas. You can also arrange to include a message in a bottle for the experience.- Broward County
  1. At Discovery Cove in Orlando, and order the upgrade that includes a dolphin delivering a special message buoy such as one that says, “Be Mine.” – Orange County
  1. During the day or evening at Busch Gardens in Tampa, while enjoying a scenic Skyride that slowly travels over the park, animals and scenery below. – Hillsborough County
  1. By the Gulf of Mexico on the beach at sunset. Try Treasure Island Beach or Clearwater Beach for the momentous occasion. These are wider sand beaches where you’ll be able to more easily find an uncrowded spot for your little shindig and there are also restaurants within easy walking distance where you can continue the celebration of your engagement afterwards. – Pinellas County
  1. During a kayak paddle in the scenic waters off Fort Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, FL – Pinellas County. You’ll enjoy seeing mangroves and probably jumping fish, manatees or seabirds along the way.
  1. In Mable’s Rose Garden which features many varieties of roses, or on the waterfront courtyard/plaza of the beautiful Ringling’s mansion, Ca’D’Zan, at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL – Sarasota County
  1. While strolling the short but impressive Anhinga trail in the Everglades- Everglades National Park, Homestead, FL. The Homestead entrance will get you to the Anhinga trail. This is for the adventurous couple who will be thrilled to be up close to wild alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitats! It will probably be a better experience if you go during the fall or spring seasons (less rain and mosquitos). -Miami-Dade County

Then, once you’re engaged, give each other another unique gift. A gift for your future with long-lasting effects. Take our premarital preparation course at to learn more about each other, gain marriage-enhancing skills, and get a great start towards your happily-ever-after.

Don’t Let it Rain on Your Relationship Parade

Couple sharing umbrella on a rainy evening

Did you know that afternoon rain showers are very common in Florida during the summer months? While watching it rain recently, I was reminded about how relationships also experience rain storms from time to time. In nature, the rain showers often seem unexpected and are unwanted by many since they “ruin” our plans for outdoor fun. The dreary weather also seems to dampen your spirits. In relationships, rain storms can similarly come on suddenly, and can ruin your day with your loved one. You may even worry your relationship is at-risk long-term. However, you can learn to ride out these rain showers in your relationship, just like you can ride out a rain storm in nature. It takes some planning and a change in perspective.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Keep checking the weather. In your relationship, this can mean to accept that there will be rain showers sometimes. These will be problems you face in life or changes in your partner that threaten the stability of your relationship. Keep checking in with each other regularly. Notice each other’s emotions, behaviors and routines, and then discuss sudden or lingering changes that have been noticed with each other. This helps you to continue to know each other well and have intimate discussions about things that are beginning to frustrate, sadden or aggravate you or your partner. This also improves support for each other and helps you plan changes that will resolve any concerns.

2. Remember to have an umbrella or rain poncho with you. In your relationship, this can mean to have several ideas ready to put into action to help you survive a rain storm with your partner. These can include certain specific words or actions you can take to lift your partner’s spirits, give them space, or to quickly re-establish a stronger feeling of connection with them (i.e., putting on a favorite song from when you were falling in love). In addition, be equipped with ideas that will inspire you to be more patient, to feel more protected until the storm passes, and to have a greater disposition for forgiveness during the trying times.  

3. Make changes or back-up plans for indoor fun when it rains. In your relationship, this can mean to use a problem-solving mindset to discuss the problem with your partner. This also involves coming up with possible alternatives and solutions to address the issues you each consider the current rain storm. With compassion, discuss your wishes and wants, the things you miss, and ways you each are willing to contribute and make changes to have a renewed relationship with better times again. 

4. Put your patience on. Remind yourself that this is only a temporary rain storm and good weather will reappear. In your relationship, this can mean to continue to change your thinking to more positive things that will help you to calm yourself, to have hope, and to feel stronger. Replace the negative thoughts with more hopeful ones like these: ‘Tomorrow is another day,’ ‘I’m thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain,’ ‘look for the rainbow after the rain’, ‘love is patient, love is kind.’ And remember these words from a famous Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”

5. Remember that a lot of good also comes from rain storms. In your relationship, this can mean to change your perspective from an emphasis on the negatives to a focus on the positives that can occur when you survive your relationship storm. In nature, the rain not only helps to keep Florida lush with beautiful greenery and flowers, but also reduces watering restrictions and provides essential water for the survival of animals and humans. In relationships, a rain storm can result in benefits as well. Refocus your thoughts to the positives by reminding yourself that you and your partner can become more experienced by going through difficult situations together, and can become more connected, patient, and loving with each other when you successfully overcome a storm in your relationship with grace and respect. Remember these lyrics from the song ‘The Rose’- “Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring, becomes the rose.”

So don’t let it rain on your relationship parade! Stay hopeful and refocus. Take measures to survive any rain storms that arise so you can look forward to better days ahead in a vibrant and more resilient relationship. offers a premarital preparation course with more suggestions for a stronger relationship at and envisions love as one that will last a lifetime.




Finding Time for Your Love

How do you find time for each other when the world is swirling all around you with other demands? Couples who are in love nowadays are likely to find it challenging to focus on each other beyond the initial falling in love craze-phase. And yet, that is one of the essential components of being able to stay in love, get married, and continue on in a love that can last a lifetime.

Who doesn’t remember staying on the phone for hours with a girlfriend or boyfriend and then finding it impossible to say goodbye to each other and actually hang up the phone? Back then, you had hours of time for each other, without question. Months or years later, some couples feel they can barely give up 10 or 15 minutes of time for a call or conversation with each other.

So how does one combat this problem? First, remember the initial importance you placed on your partner and strive to put them as “the” high priority in your daily life again. Think of one or two new routines you can develop where you are purposefully scheduling in at least 15 minutes of dedicated time to connect with your loved one every day. Ideas can include a regular coffee time together before work, an evening walk together, or some other creative idea that occurs to you. Have a brainstorming session with your love about this to come up with a suitable and equally enjoyable idea.

Second, remember that housework and chores can usually wait or get put on a to-do list for another day (so long as your roof isn’t leaking or your car is working enough to get you to work). But besides such obvious emergencies, you can usually plan on prioritizing time in favor of your fiancé or spouse before dealing with other life demands. Another idea can be to include your beloved in some of those other activities so that you are both dealing with the life demand together, when possible.

But what about work? Well, although work is important for personal, worldly, and your financial needs, recognize and accept that you can only do so much in a day. After all, you are only one human being and have certain limitations, such as a need for sleep! Also, think about it this way to see if it helps you towards your goal of spending more time with your love. It is easier to get another job, if needed, but impossible to replace your irreplaceable, unique loved one. So it’s vital to not put your relationship at risk. Freely give and make time for your partner. Work at improving the balance of time in your daily life to include work issues, other life issues, but especially time for your love.

In the end, to live with less stress, be a productive worker, and enjoy a great relationship with your love, you will need to make clearer decisions about with whom and on what you will spend your time, when, for how long, and why. Keep the “why” or goal in the forefront of your mind, such as a goal of maintaining closeness with your love or maintaining a happy marriage with your love. This can help you stay on track with your time management decisions. Balance your time purposefully and creatively between your work, home, and relationships and you’re likely to discover that time for your love also results in a life well lived.

Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams with Envision Love, LLC offers a fun and interactive online premarital preparation course that provides couples with more ideas and opportunities to bolster their relationship. Visit to get started on the path towards enjoying a long-lasting and happy marriage.