Learning Proper Negotiation Within The Marriage

What should you do if your spouse is being unreasonable or resistant while you negotiate?

Negotiating with your spouse is something you need to do whenever you cannot find common ground on an issue and things need to be resolved. You shouldn’t negotiate unless you are encountering a major issue or need to talk about the problems that could endanger your marriage.

The easy approach consists in arguing with your spouse until you get what you wanted or until they storm out. This isn’t the best way to solve your problems. It is best to avoid pure emotions and to sit down so you can have a reasonable discussion and find common interests.

Negotiating with your spouse is a more reasonable and peaceful approach that will help you find solutions to your problems.

What are the things that can prevent you from successfully negotiating?

Sadly, there are times when it will be difficult to find a common ground between you and your spouse and you might feel that there are no beneficial results from negotiating.

These are some of the obstacles you might encounter during negotiations with your spouse.

1. Your Spouse Has The Higher Ground. Spouses are not always equal in a relationship. Your primary vehicle might be in your spouse’s name or your spouse might be the main contributor to the household’s finances. In this situation, it is very easy for one of the spouses to have more control over the marriage and over your family.

If your spouse often ignores what you have to say or dismisses your needs because they have more control over your finances or over the family, you might be tempted to become aggressive and to lash out just so they will listen to what you have to say.

Even though this is a tempting way to draw attention to an issue, lashing out is going to cause more problems and will not help you move towards a solution. Your spouse will in fact feel that they shouldn’t allow you to make decisions because you are aggressive and are not acting like a reasonable adult who makes logical decisions.

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You should rely on the mutual benefit model instead of getting into an argument. Here is an example of how the mutual benefit model can help you:

James and Janie have been married for several years and have three children. James lost his job a few years back and has never found another job that was worth taking. He decided to stay home to take care of the couple’s three school age children.

Janie has a full-time job that pays well and has been able to take care of the bills. However, James has been looking into acquiring some new skills lately. He would like to take a certification course to become a board-certified counselor and needs Janie to pay for the course.

Janie refuses to pay for the course because she tends to be rigid when it comes to spending money. James doesn’t have any money saved up and feels trapped because Janie is in control of their finances and he needs to take this course to get access to more employment opportunities.

His only other option is to take a part-time job to make enough money to pay for the night classes he needs to take.

James didn’t get aggressive and tried reasoning with Janie instead. He explained that if she wouldn’t help him pay for the course he needs to take, he would have to take a part-time job. He also explained that she would have to do more things at home since he would have less time once he takes a part-time job and signs up for night classes.

Janie ended up paying for the course because she realized that it wouldn’t be convenient for the family if James is away working a part-time job and studying for his class.

2. Your Spouse Simply Refuses. Your spouse might freeze the conversation because they do not agree with you and do not want you to add any more arguments. If you find yourself in this situation, you are dealing with an ‘internal objection’.

What is an internal objection and how should you react?

An internal object is a way to resist without openly expressing resistant or scrutiny.

Your marriage is probably in trouble if there is internal resistance from both sides. It can tempting to not express your objections because arguing is never pleasant. The best way to deal with this is to sit down with your spouse and to calmly ask them what their decision is.

You need to use some simple statements to communicate with your spouse. Ask them to explain why they are refusing and to tell you what they are thinking. Try understanding what is going on in your spouse’s mind so that you can find some common ground.

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