Managing Miscommunication - Asking The Agreement Question?

A man and woman were trying to move a couch in their home one fine morning, and were not meeting with much success. With mounting frustration in her voice, the woman said "Honey, I don't think we are ever going to get this couch out of the living room." To which he responded, "Out of the living room? I thought we were trying to get it into the living room!"

Many people, myself included, have written and talked about how to handle and resolve conflicts in a relationship. While that is all well and good, what about preventing them in the first place?

I've worked with many couples who have had a discussion about what to do about something and thought they were in agreement. Then one of them acted on those thoughts, only to find out that the other person thought just the opposite was agreed upon. This can create a nice breeding ground for a big fight.

This is where what I have come call the AWIA Approach comes in handy. AWIA stands for Are We In Agreement?

The idea is to end conversations with the question "Are We In Agreement?" As I have had couples practice this one, and as I've used it in my own little laboratory at home, I've found that many times couples think they are in agreement when they are not. Asking the AWIA question cuts through any miscommunication and can cut off any future misunderstanding and conflict.

So give it a try. End the next few conversations with "Are We In Agreement" and see if you like the results.

Jeff Herrring, MS, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist, relationship coach, speaker and nationally syndicated relationship columnist, and founder and CEO of http://www.SecretsofGreatrelationships.com.

You can email Jeff at [email protected] and sign up for his free internet newsletter "Great Relationships Tip of the Week" on his website at http://www.SecretsofGreatRelationships.com

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