Communication with your spouse: Win win decision making.

This week is all about win win decision making.  Last week’s post was about the importance of staying in the calm zone but what happens next? After you have noticed the signs that you are reaching your anger ceiling you have hopefully walked away, taken some time to cool off and then you return to the conversation.

Communication with your spouse isn't always easy
Communication with your spouse isn’t always easy. The right skills can make all the difference.

So what’s the next step? How can you enhance communication with your spouse in a way that allows you to tackle a tough topic and move out of conflict and into a collaborative decision making stance? WIN WIN decision making is the answer. Yes, there are a few communication basics that are helpful to understand like avoiding crossovers and learning effective listening strategies that we have covered in the past.  Once you have learned the basics, the next step is to use the win win strategies outlined by Dr. Susan Heitler in her book and workbook and skills taught at Power of Two online.

The basic premise of win win is just that, both people win.  This is not a a path to compromise.  Compromise is often cited as a path to more harmony in relationships, in reality it is just a slow process of losing half the time (or maybe more depending on your dynamic) True win win decision making allows two people to tackle decisions with seemingly opposing opinions.  Win win decision making is a process of moving from initial positions to a broader understanding of each persons concerns.  Once you have a pot of concerns rather than just I want this, you want that you can create solutions that meet most, or all of the concerns.

communication with your spouse
Communication with your spouse requires understanding all the concerns on the table and creating solution sets.

The beautiful thing about shared decision making is that you can use these strategies to navigate the everyday questions like what to eat for dinner and how to spend your weekend. Beyond that these skills can also be used for big picture decision like where to live or what career path to take.  Shared decision making is a tool for conflict resolution.  Some might argue that conflict resolution isn’t possible, Dr. Heitler suggests that the opposite is true, in this article she describes her position “Yes. All marriage conflicts can be resolved.”

Shared decision making is just one of the skill sets that make this possible and as Dr. Heitler suggests “it takes training and practice for couples to learn to transform their marriage arguments into win-win problem-solving.”

Worth it though, wouldn’t you say!

Stay tuned next week for the final post in this series, Communication in Relationships: The Importance of Positivity!

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