Practical communication for deeper intimacy and win-win outcomes
6-Week Course from Home.
A couple came to us for coaching recently, Tai and Olivia. They both said they were generally a good team and very committed to kindness and respect in their relationship. But when it came to topics they had strong feelings about, their conversations quickly turned to fights. For Tai and Olivia, it was about how to raise their three kids.
Their conversations would go something like this:
Olivia: We need to talk about what happened last night with the kids. We need a better way to deal with them at night. I don’t think it’s working how you’re being with them.
Tai: What’s there to talk about? You’ve made it clear you’re just going to let them do whatever they want anyways.
Olivia: That’s not fair! I just don’t think it’s helpful when you start laying down the law without even listening to them. Can’t you see they get scared?
Tai: There are things that aren’t a negotiation! When they cross a line, I’m going to tell them. I’m not going to pretend it didn’t happen. They respect that!
Olivia: Just because your mom and dad yelled at you doesn’t mean you have to take it out on our kids!
Tai: Taking it out on them! You’re unbelievable!
Olivia: I’m unbelievable!? Says you, sticking to your stupid rules even though we all hate it!
Can you relate? Even if your disagreements are about something other than kids, does it ever sound like this when you and your partner try to have a conversation?
Couples tell us communication is the
#1 issue in their relationship
When couples call us for relationship support, communication is often the #1 issue. Even if they generally communicate well about logistics, it’s very difficult to reach a working agreement about “hot topics” like sex and intimacy, kids, money, and more.
Think about your own relationship. What happens when you try to talk about a topic you don’t agree on? Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself in what couples have told us over the years.
Couples tell us that when they can’t reach agreement about a important topic, they …
Do whatever they think is best, with inevitable fights afterwards.
Make up a story their partner is impossible or stubborn.
Get mean or sarcastic.
Try to argue their way to agreement.
Turn away from one another.
Lose hope that anything will change.
Stack up reason upon reason to get their partner to see their point.
Give up trying.
In any partnership, it’s crucial that we can make decisions together. Otherwise the myriad decisions of life become an ongoing struggle. It’s demoralizing and exhausting when you can’t talk about important topics like loving, mature adults.
If lack of agreement becomes the norm, it begins to seep into the rest of your relationship. You might begin to each do whatever you see fit and slowly lose faith in you as a team. And that’s a dangerous spot for any marriage or long-term relationship.
We need to be a team with two happy players
One of the reasons it’s so tricky to reach agreement about important topics is that you’re almost always dealing with two different elements of your communication: practical and emotional.
On a practical level, we need to make decisions and take action around a thousand things in life: What kind of food to eat, how to pay our bills, where to live or send kids to school, how to structure our time, where to spend Christmas, or simply who does the stack of chores we have on any given day.
When we have strong opinions and values about a topic, the emotional element becomes more important in the communication. For Tai and Olivia above, it's their kids. For others, it's about drinking and partying; how to handle family relations; or how much stuff is in the house.
Only when we include both practical and emotional communication do we reach solutions that are satisfying to both of us. Sure, sometimes you can get your way by “winning” the argument … but at what cost to your relationship? To have a lasting, strong team, you need two happy players who both feel heard and considered.
Watch a quick video of us disagreeing about vacation plans. Trying to sort it out, but not getting anywhere (using an example from a couple we worked with).
Watching this brief interchange, you can probably recognize that this communication doesn't bring us closer to a workable agreement. We essentially end up right where we started, on two opposite "positions", but more frustrated.
In order to have a fruitful and respectful discussion, we have use different tools. Actually, we need a completely different style and tone of communication.
Now, watch how it goes when we use win-win communication and take each other's concerns and wants into account.
Watch how it goes when we use win-win communication tools, include each other's concerns, and get creative with possible solutions.
Thousands of couples have told us they long for effective communication to reach win-win solutions
What do you think about our communication in the video?
Would it feel refreshing if you could have a mature conversations about tricky subjects and reach a solution you could both support? Would it make you feel like an invincible team if you got to share your side of an issue and have your viewpoint heard? And would you be more inclined to be flexible about the outcome if you felt your concerns were considered?
Thousands of couples have told us they long for effective communication to reach workable solutions. Actually, more than long for, they need it. We all do. It is because of this need that we designed this six-week course, Win-Win Communication For Couples (in the short clip above, we use a host of different approaches that you’ll learn in the course.)
Full disclosure, this is not an instant fix to all your communication difficulties. It takes effort, trial-and-error, and a willingness to try out new tools and ideas. And maybe also stretching yourself a bit beyond your current comfort zone.
Connect: Win-Win Communication for Couples
6-week course to learn practical tools for connection
and win-win solutions
Between the two us, we have over 40 years experience coaching and educating couples. We are constantly refining and adjusting the tools to work better. This course is a step-by-step process designed for busy couples to get cutting-edge insights and techniques without needing to book a hotel room or break the bank.
Some of the highlights of what you’ll learn:
How to discover the real reason you get upset in disagreements.
How to include each others’ viewpoints in discussions.
How to keep the conversation civil, even with touchy subjects.
How to approach a conflict like a team (instead of adversaries duking it out).
How to use effective communication tools for conflict resolution.
How to care for each other’s vulnerabilities and sensitivities.
How to have conversations that lead to action steps.
How to share deeply personal content with each other.
How to create win-win solutions to any disagreement together.
Plus, specific step-by-step communication tools to accomplish all this.
Below you can read a bit more about what you’ll learn in each of the six classes.
You can also contact us if you have any questions about the course. Use the Chat button (bottom right) for quicker response time.
What's in the course
We’ve made it as simple and easy to do as possible. Each week for 6 weeks, we meet for 90 minutes via Zoom. In each session, we’ll teach core insights and techniques, and you practice with your partner at home, with our guidance.
You will receive all the tools and techniques you learn as written PDF documents. You will get recordings of the classes and can access it as long as you like.
Each week, we’ll give you a few key practices to experiment with. That’s it. There are no books or academic texts to read; no extra videos to watch; no essays to write. There’s no test at the end, just the two of you doing your best to connect and try on new tools.
You’ll get personal coaching and guidance from Sonika and Christian. During the course, you can text or email us any questions you have.
Course starts Thursday September 21st, 6:00 - 7:30pm PST. Same time subsequent five Thursdays.
The course is $495 per couple.
Everything everyone does makes sense from their point of view. To reach win-win solutions for disagreements in a kind and effective manner, we need to listen and understand each other. In this class, you’ll learn::
How to slow down and see the issue from your partner’s vantage point.
How to discover and deal with triggers that get in the way of communication
Step-by-step method to communicate about triggering situations.
Our personal history and mindset can create rigid “boxes” we get stuck in (e.g. “He’s stubborn”, “She’s impossible to talk to”, “We never agree”). Only when the boxes get dismantled can we truly communicate and work together. In this class, you’ll learn:
How to “unbox” yourself and each other.
How your mindset about conflicts set you up to fail (+ a better option).
A profound tool to discover how decisions from your past still impact your communication today.
Using ‘unboxing’ communication to support and empower each other.
Usually, when we disagree on something, we try to convince the other to come to “our side”, often resulting in fights or stalemates. Using the Agreement Frame, we can have a civil discussion that take our real concerns into account. This is kind communication. In this class, you’ll learn:
How to use the Agreement Frame to have civil, kind discussions, even if you disagree.
Why “concerns” rule your communication.
How to discover your own and your mate’s true concerns.
How to include and understand your partner’s viewpoints.
When we can’t agree on workable solutions, we end up with un-workable solutions that cause ongoing friction and resentment. That’s not good! To have a happy relationship, we need win-win solutions. In this class, we introduce our Win-Win Communication model and begin to work towards solutions. In this class, you’ll learn:
How to use our Win-Win Communication model.
How to use your wants and concerns to ensure solutions work for both of you.
How to get creative together and find many possible win-win solutions to an issue.
Conversations for Action
Once you’ve created possible solutions to an issue, you need to decide which action path to take. That often includes negotiation between you. This can happen ten times a day in a relationship and it’s essential we keep it kind and productive. Using all the previous skills, in this class, you’ll learn:
How to have Conversations for Action
How to recognize your own and partner’s attempts to connect and communicate.
How to make specific, direct requests of each other.
How to negotiate back and forth till you reach an action.
The main reason communication breaks down is one or both of us not feeling heard. Until that happens, communication is difficult or interrupted. We need simple ways to communicate and listen to make us feel truly heard and appreciated. In this class, you’ll learn:
How to use Heart Sharing for deep listening and connection.
How to apply “Thank you for … ” as a laser-pointed tool to stop communication breakdowns.
How to appreciate and build each other up as you progress with your communication.