Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Negotiating a Relationship

Remember when you were dating your partner and you let your partner know how much you valued the relationship and that you wanted a future together? Why does this so often change after marriage? After committing to marriage, you "have" your partner but you must still negotiate what type of marriage you are going to have. This does not mean a general discussion regarding your values. Rather, you must negotiate everything from where the cereal is stored, to how you parent your children.

What causes these negotiations to become harsh and filled with tension compared to how easy it was to compromise when you were dating? You can have control or you can have relationship, but you can't have both. A spouse that values getting their way more than relationship will be able to be more harsh in negotiating than a spouse that places a priority on building closeness. The control-minded partner will have more power to define the marriage but, in the long run, will establish a dissatisfying marriage that does not reflect each's desires.

Negotiations that place a priority on relationship are characterized by mutual understanding and caring. If you put energy into listening to your partner's views, feelings, and desires, then it will be much easier to compromise your own desires. "My way" you will give in to "our way."

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