How to disagree with your partner and get what you want

From an early age did you be witness to this behaviour change model?

Step #1 — Get their attention with a wake-up call.

Step #2 — Show them the consequences that happen if they don’t change.

Step #3 — Give them a road map that shows them how them how to change.

Sound familiar?

Here’s the one downside of this model: it doesn’t work.

At VitalSmarts we use the Influencer Approach.

  1. What are the results you’re after?
  2. What are the behaviours that drive those results?
  3. What can you do to influence those behaviours?

Before we can help influence change, we need to know what to change.

Imagine your daughter came to you and said, “I found the person I want to marry. We’re deeply in love, so what can I do to make sure our love lasts?”

Would you know what to say?

It turns out, the researchers have answered this question pretty well.

First you have to look at the crucial moments in a marriage. It turns out most married couple have about 300 disagreements each year.

That’s right — 300! Think about that for a second.

To be fair, these disagreements aren’t over major marital issues. They’re over small things like leaving the sink full of dirty dishes or not mowing the lawn on time.

The amazing thing is that if you look at happily married couples versus less happily married or divorced couples, the number of disagreements isn’t any less.

Disagreeing is part of being a couple.

The difference is, happy couples can disagree in ways that are honest, frank, respectful, and loving.

So, if your daughter asked you how to make love last, you wouldn’t tell her to reduce the number of arguments. That’s what our Intuitive Model would lead us to say, but eliminating disagreements is not the problem.

Instead, you’d teach her how to resolve disagreements in a way that’s loving and honest.

The vital behaviour that needs changing isn’t the number of disagreements — it’s how the we resolve the disagreements we’re guaranteed to have.

Latest Blog Posts

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Improve communication, habits, productivity and more with weekly insights and tips from our authors and experts.

Join our 10,000+ community.