Try taking turns.
Updated: Aug 17, 2019
What do you want to eat?
I don’t know, what do you want to eat?
I don’t know.
Negotiating is an important skill for any couple, and often it works. However, sometimes, like in the conversation above, it can be challenging for two people to share their opinions and just get the negotiating started.
I find that it can be useful to take turns making decisions, especially for smaller things, like what to have for dinner. If you've made it clear what your parameters are (such as, I can’t eat shellfish), then taking turns making a decision can provide some variety and eliminate the need for what can sometimes be a long, drawn-out negotiation.
A great way to practice this is to take turns planning date nights. It takes trust to let to go and put the decision in someone else’s hands, but you know that next time it will be in your hands. If you want variety and your partner doesn’t, then you can choose something new when it’s your turn. (The challenge comes in truly choosing what you want, rather than trying to choose what you think your partner wants.)
Sex is another place where negotiating can be challenging. It seems like people in our culture talk very little about sex. Often I find that couples settle on something that is the preference of only one partner. I frequently hear couples say that one person likes sex in the morning while the other likes it in the evening. In that case, settling on the preference of one partner might explain why sex isn’t happening as often as you want. Why not try taking turns?