Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles

A Five-Step Action Plan for When You Disagree

images-4Any and every two persons can disagree at times – it’s natural. It would be unnatural to not have disagreements. When we deeply love someone or care about someone, our disagreements can be even more intense due to the fact that we have so much invested in the relationship. We each have our perspective, our filters and our view through the lens of our histories, experiences, life training, families of origin, and fears. Disagreement in a relationship is not the problem, however; staying in the mode of disagreement or fighting is a problem. We must stop long enough to discern what it is we need and then find the solution(s) to reach agreement toward those needs. I want to share with you a process that can help to find agreement so that most disagreements can be resolved.

images-2Having been involved in marriage and family counseling for many years, I discovered that I could sit with couples week after week listening to the laundry list of issues/problems. That process is rarely helpful or productive. But when I was able to help one partner listen to the other partner, share feelings, share needs and then look for solutions, we often made headway. If you can set aside the intensity of the disagreement and then focus on the following five questions, you just might discover an answer to your disagreement.

1. What are you feeling? Describe your feelings on the matter, not your thoughts.

2. What do you need? You describe your desired need or desired outcome.

3. What do you understand? Here is where you share with your mate what you are hearing from them about their feelings and their needs.

4. What have you tried? This step helps you to figure out what did not or does not work.

5. What are the solutions? Move all of the above toward a solution, a plan to resolve the difference. Look for a healthy solution and action plan.


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