25. Relationship Problem Solving


The following are tips for problem solving.

  • problem solving has a time and a place.
  • problem solving has an agenda.
  • problem-solving is task-oriented; it is not a power struggle.
  • problem-solving has two distinct phases; a problem definition phase and a problem solution phase.

When defining a problem:

  • be specific (refer to what both partners can observe)
  • be brief
  • express your feelings about the behavior which is the subject of the conflict

When solving problems:

  • brainstorm solutions
  • evaluate their costs and benefits to each partner and to the relationship
  • decide on the best solution
  • be willing to compromise; problem-solving involves give-and-take

Also, when defining and solving problems:

  • discuss only one problem at a time
  • paraphrase what you hear your partner saving and check the accuracy of your paraphrase
  • remember, the attitude with which you approach problem-solving is very important.
  • problem-solving requires collaboration and problem-solving requires that each problem being discussed is seen as a mutual problem.