How Couples Can Fight Fair

Interview Carol Barkes

Carol Barkes is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results.

Talking Points From Carol Barkes On How Couples
Can Communicate Better When in Disagreement

    • Make the conversation about the problem, not the person—criticism is not a smart approach! Instead, it is okay to voice a complaint about an action, behavior, or process. Do not criticize the person’s character and expect good results.

    • Avoid gunnysacking. Couples often have a long history that provides a rich breeding ground of negative information to throw at a new conflict. Do not throw in past problems into a current situation. Keep it to one issue.
    • Focus on the underlying needs and not the demands. If a couple is fighting about the dishes not being done, the position will be something like, “You better do the dishes” or “Get over it. I’ll do them when I’m ready.” Instead, the couple should focus on the needs—which might be a clean house, the ability has dishes ready and orderly and ready to be used for the next meal . . . about being fair, considerate, etc., to one another. If couples focus on what they need in a situation, they will save a lot of time arguing over what is not the real point of the matter.
    • Listen to really hear—not to simply wait until you get a chance to speak again.
  • Use far fewer words. Our brains only handle 4–6 chunks of information at a time. To really be heard, use fewer words and slow down.


Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes


Jo Allison
PR Managing Editor
Success In Media, Inc.

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