Conflict is inevitable in any marriage and you and your spouse are bound to disagree on many different issues throughout your life together. And let’s be real…the more time you spend together as a couple, the more little annoyances become magnified. Oftentimes couples fight about their disagreements and their marriages suffer as a result. The good news, however, is that these disagreements don’t have to lead to fighting. There is a much better and healthier way to solve these issues that involve learning how to negotiate with each for a solution that is beneficial to both of you. Here are a few tips for negotiating with your spouse so that you both win.
Communicate with Each Other
The best way to become better negotiators is to learn how to communicate effectively with each other. Make it a habit to discuss issues as they arise, rather than letting them fester over time. When you keep these complaints to yourself, over time it begins to build up until you finally explode and blow up over something entirely unrelated. Set aside time each day to talk with your spouse. It’s important to communicate with each other about everyday things and this is also a good time to bring up any concerns.
Choose the Right Time
Good negotiators know that timing is everything. Pouncing on your spouse as soon as they walk in the door from work is probably not a good idea. You are much more likely to get a positive response if you wait until the right time. For instance, set aside time to talk after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet. You might also go for a walk to talk things over. Choosing the right time can make all the difference in how your spouse reacts.
Address One Issue at a Time
You might have a mountain of concerns, but piling all of them on your spouse’s plate at once can be overwhelming. Instead, stick to one topic and focus on that. Your spouse is less likely to feel attacked if you aren’t rattling off a list of annoyances. It makes it easier to come up with reasonable solutions.
Avoid Making Demands
We all want to “get our way” but making demands can leave your spouse feeling frustrated and angry. No one wants to feel like they “lost” so try developing a win-win strategy. Instead of forcing one partner to give in while the other wins, try to reach a common goal in which both parties win. Make it a point to value your spouse’s opinion and try seeing things from their perspective. Your marriage will be much stronger if you are working as a team rather than against each other.
Choose Your Words Carefully
You would never walk into a business negotiation and start insulting the client. Likewise, you should use kind words when talking with your spouse. One way to make this easier is to avoid negotiating when one or the other is emotional. Learn how to take a “time-out” from the discussion when one of you is feeling emotional. You will be able to make more rational decisions when everyone is feeling calm and peaceful.