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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?

The Steps of Win-Win Decision Making

Recognizing Positions, Concerns and Solutions

Win-win decisions require you to distinguish between Initial Positions, Underlying Concerns, and Satisfying Solutions.

  • Initial Positions are the first ideas that each of you have for what you want.
  • Underlying Concerns are the fears, desires and preferences that cause you to form your initial position.
  • Satisfying Solutions are plans of action that address all of the underlying concerns that were raised during the decision making process. These win-win solutions are often sets of plans, satisfying everyone's concerns with multiple actionable components.

Activity #1

Use your understanding of Positions, Concerns and Solutions to identify which step of the win-win process John and Linda are using. Check one box for each speaker.

John:

I'd like to go for a bicycle ride. Interested?

Linda:

Well, if we're going out I'd rather take the motorcycles.

John:

That sounds fun...I like the idea of doing something together.

Linda:

Me too. This time of year the leaves are so beautiful - I thought it would be fun to ride out to the countryside and see them.

John:

That does sound good. I was thinking bicycles because I want to get some exercise.

Linda:

Well maybe we can do something that lets us exercise and also see the fall colors in the country.

John:

I have an idea. Lets ride the motorcycle to the country and drive around looking at the scenery. Then we can get out and hike at Bear mountain.

Linda:

That sounds great. That way we'll both get exercise on the hike and get to drive around and see the fall leaves.

Activity #2

Do the same exercise for Kathy and Dave.

Kathy:

Come on, let's go to the furniture store.

Dave:

Honestly, I'd really like to take a nap right now.

Kathy:

The store closes in an hour and I want to go ahead and buy that sofa I saw the other day.

Dave:

Well how about you go on without me and I'll stay here and nap?

Kathy:

Its important to me that you see it before we buy it. I want to work as a team to decorate the house.

Dave:

I've just been exhausted all week and I think an hour and a half of nap time would really refresh me.

Kathy:

Well is there a way you could get your nap in, and we can both see the sofa before the store closes?

Dave:

How about we take 15 minutes now to look at photos of the sofa on the store's website?

Kathy:

That would work for me. Then I'll still get there before it closes, and you'll be able to nap while I'm gone. How would you feel about helping me unload the sofa when I get home?

Dave:

I'd be happy to. I think that timing should work great!

NOTE: You may have noticed that in some cases the win-win steps need to repeated. Often in this process it takes a few cycles from concerns to solutions, back to concerns, and back to solutions to find all the concerns that will enable you to build a truly win-win solution.

What stands out about the tone of these conversations? What stands out about the process and the resolution of the discussions? How are they similar or different from your discussions?

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