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We Can't Agree!

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

When you can't agree in your relationship

After decades of coaching couples and singles, we know that agreeing on important (and sometimes not-so-important) topics can be an ongoing challenge in a relationship.

Alexis and Danilo came to us for couples coaching. They exclaimed, “We can’t agree on anything!” Specifically, they couldn’t agree on how to manage their money. Alexis was a passionate proponent of putting any extra money they had in a savings or retirement account. Danilo was equally enthused about prioritizing the joy they had in the here and now, often in the form of buying fun experiences or things (go golfing, buy a boat, go to Cabo, etc.)

Experience behind viewpoints

Alexis wasn’t just casually saying, “Savings would be nice”. Danilo didn’t pick his “enjoy the moment” attitude out of the blue. On the contrary, they both had a lot of experience to back up their respective viewpoints.

Alexis had grown up in a low-income family and had felt her parents’ fear at the end of every month when the next rent payment was coming due. Because they had no savings, any extra expense, like a medical bill, would result in less food, less clothing, or less fun. She decided as a young person she was never going to be in that position again.

Danilo had also grown up in a family with almost no extra income. He watched his friends get new bikes or new shoes or go to the amusement park. He rarely got to go with them. When he did, he felt self-conscious about his hand-me-down clothes. His mom tried hard to save whatever money she could and did not want to “waste” any money on “frivolous” stuff. Like Alexis, he too made a decision as a youngster: You have to grab any opportunity to have some fun, because there’s no telling if you’ll have another!

Why agreeing can be challenging

Their example gives us a good clue about why it can be challenging for any couple to come to an agreement on a topic when they start out on seemingly opposite sides of the issue. When one or both partners have strong feelings about, or values attached to any given subject, it is hard to not fight for their own way of seeing and doing things.

When Alexis and Danilo had conversations about money, it went something like this:

Alexis: “I know we’re both getting a bonus this year; that’s great! I think we need to put more in our retirement account.”

Danilo: “No, I already told you I don’t want to do that! If we put it in retirement, we lose all access to it; it’s like it’s not even our money, that’s ridiculous”.

Alexis: “That’s exactly the point, to not have access; we want to save it for rainy days, you know”.

Danilo: “I was more looking at enjoying some sunny days now. How about we do that trip to Asia we’ve been talking about, to celebrate?”

Alexis: “No! That would be super expensive! We would blow both of our bonuses on a 10-day trip!”

Danilo: “What’s the point of all our hard work if we don’t get to have some fun? If it was up to you, we’d just work till we drop dead. What good is retirement if we never had any fun along the way?”

Alexis: “You’re just like your brother! Let the good times roll, right? That’s why he’s living hand to mouth, cuz he’s totally irresponsible with money. It’s like he never grew up.”

Danilo: “At least he’s enjoying his life! That’s more than we can say. If you could just chill out instead of being so uptight!”

Does it ever sound like that in your relationship when you’re trying to make a decision about something?

One example shows a process

I know this is just one example from one couple on one topic. But in our experience, this is the same process that unfolds in many relationships and marriages. One person starts a conversation that they hope will result in agreement and a corresponding decision. But instead, it devolves into an argument, at the end of which no agreement and no decision is achieved. They’re back to where they started, except with more hurt and frustration.

Without knowing it, Alexis and Danilo make a lot of mistakes in this interaction. For instance, they don’t ask any questions to discover what’s behind their viewpoints. They don’t take ownership of their own triggers and strong feelings. Not to mention they never even reach the stage of the conversation when they can begin to talk about actual solutions and decisions. And those are just a few of the errors and omissions they make.

On the other hand, there are a lot of effective methods they could use, but don’t. Too many to write out in a blog post like this one. If you're interested in learning more effective communication for tricky topics, read on ...

Win-Win Communication

Improving communications like the example above is why we created a new online course, Connect: Win-Win Communications for Couples.

If you would like to learn how to arrive at win/win solutions where both of you feel fully heard, considered and taken care of (and avoid arguments like Alexis and Danilo’s), we invite you to join us.

We have put together the best practical tools and insights from our 40+ years of coaching and education couples on communication, connection, and intimacy.

Much love from

♥️ Sonika & Christian


LoveWorks: We believe relationships are meant to be an empowering, fun, passionate, safe place to grow, love, and learn. Where we get to be more of who we are, not less. We know it’s not always easy, but it can definitely be easier! With our unique and practical approach to relationship, you learn how to resolve conflicts quickly and enjoy fulfilling intimacy for the rest of your life. To learn more or contact us, visit

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