Any relationship is full of negotiation. People point to compromise as a major component and there is that too, but if that’s all there was then relationships wouldn’t be positive or nurturing or even healthy.  They would be political and a means to control negative behaviors and consequences.  It would be two people in a losing situation where no one is going to get what they want and the best that can be achieves is a draw or neutrality.  Personally, I don’t think being Switzerland is the best way for a relationship to go.  Just sayin.

Negotiation is a form of communication.  It’s where both parties are listening actively, not in order to respond, but in order to connect.  Negotiation can be over a dispute, but it can also be about two entities coming together to form something new.  It can be a time when both parties bring everything to the table and start discussing what they want to build together.  It’s where the boundaries get sorted out, the vocabulary gets defined, where the dreams get aligned and discovered and discussed.  Negotiation is where we discover not only that our two circles overlap, but that they do so in ways we never imagined and that’s amazing.  It’s also where we learn what is the best way to interact with each other in this new area of overlap because as we’re creating an entire new world that is the two of us together, we should also learn where things are tender, where something is an absolute “No!” and where things can be done better this way than that.

Negotiation doesn’t need to be aggressive or confrontational.  In fact there’s another meaning of it, figuring out how to get from there to here.  We regularly use the term when we’re approaching something new or complicated like an obstacle  course, a packed schedule, or an emotionally fraught gathering.  Negotiating is a means for us to get from here to there and requires our full body presence and our being conscious not only of the other, but of ourselves and what we bring to the table. If we don’t realize what our skills and abilities are then we can trip ourselves up in a heart beat. Being present with ourselves as well as the other allows us to negotiate a new reality, to enter consciously into being more than the sum of our two parts, and build a life that is nurturing not only for the relationship but for everyone around it. Luckily it isn’t a one time thing, but an ongoing process so the becoming and creating never have to end.