Sign up for our FREE marriage skills e-mail series.

We'll send you tips, activities, and articles to help your relationship.

We take your privacy seriously. We won't share your email address with anyone else.



The marriage skills e-mail series includes:

  1. It's all about listening.
  2. How affair-proof is your marriage?
  3. "What the !@#$*?" How fights start.
  4. What kind of marriage problems should I look out for?
  5. What are the keys to supportive & intimate relationships?
  6. 10 reasons anger hurts your marriage.
  7. The sexless marriage checklist.
  8. Stop trying to help! Or... how to be a supportive partner.
  9. How can you fix your relationship?
  10. What is Good Communication?

Win-Win Example: Tom and Vera: On the Moon

Click to play the video.

The Basics...

Learn the routine for making collaborative decisions through this light-hearted scene.

Watch our adventurers use their skills to make first contact with an alien race on the moon. Can you can identify all the win-win steps they use along the way?

Continue below for additional information, or feel free to simply watch the video and then mark the activity complete!

A Refresher

What is Shared Decision-Making?

Shared decision-making is a cooperative way of making plans together. With shard decision-making, input from both of you counts. So the plan of action you end up with pleases you both.

When is shared decision-making useful?

Any time that two people need a plan of action, shared decision-making is generally the best way to go.

Without these skills, one person may make plans without considering what the other person wants. This can create feelings of frustration, resentment or depression.

Without shared decision-making skills, making plans together can produce conflicts, arguments and fights.

By contrast, with these three steps of shared decision-making, situations that need shared a shared plan of action become positive moments of gratifying partnership.

The Steps

Initial Ideas

When a dilemma comes up, people usually each suggest ideas of what to do. If these initial ideas are different, the challenge begins.

Tensions will rise if each person insists that their plan of action is the best. The initial ideas may become fixed positions, inviting an argument over who will give up and who will win.

Tom wants to greet the alient spaceship immediately. Vera, on the other hand, would prefer to go back to the shuttle for gifts.

Will they argue? No way! Tom and Vera gracefully shift to exploring their underlying concerns.

Underlying Concerns

Concerns are thoughts and feelings. The why's that lead to action ideas. Switching from focusing on initial ideas for a plan of action to identifying the underlying concerns converts arguments into shared problem-solving.

To find concerns ask, "What is important to each of us in this situation?"

For shared problem-solving to succeed, both people need to take each others' concerns seriously. Your concerns immediately get added to my list, and mind to yours.

Tom's concern is to make sure the Aliens don't vanish. For Vera, demonstrating their peaceful intentions is important.

Satisfying Solutions

A solution is an action plan.

A satifsying solution may be based on one of the initial ideas, or a new idea altogether.

A solution will feel fully satisfying, fully win-win, if the plan includes actions responsive to all the items on the "Our" list of underlying concerns.

Now here's a fun creative solution! Tom and Vera's song-and-dance will signal their good-will in a jiffy!