The problem with compromise is you both lose. Don't look for the compromise, look for the collaboration, something that gives you what you both want: something nice and fun for you that is within a budget she can feel happy with.

As to the job - you HAVE set it up for it to be lose/ lose for her. Do you see how that is unfair? Do you see how she may feel trapped and upset? "Let me get this job or else I will resent you forever".... There is no choice there.

As a married man, you lose the option to make decisions in a vacuum to solely please yourself. Any decision you make affects your wife. So clarify your goal.

Is your goal to have a nice car and your dream job? Or is it your goal to have a happy, successful marriage to the woman you love?

The two are not mutually exclusive, but if you prioritize your car and your job first, you will fail at your marriage. However if you prioritize your wife and her feelings and your marriage first, it will be MUCH more likely you can find happiness with your car and your job.

So where are you guys falling short?

Looking for a compromise is a problem.

Looking for what you or she has to give up is a problem.

Trying to determine solutions individually is a problem. The problem is identified individually - the solution is determined together.

When negotiating and POJAing - you are not supposed to come up with solutions on your own. Look at the article 4 Guidelines for a Successful Negotiation.

Guideline 1: Set ground rules to make negotiation pleasant and safe.

ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. If you cannot adhere to this guideline throughout the WHOLE negotiation then you will not succeed. Your conversation will turn into Love Buster city, plus you won't get anything resolved.

You feel your blood pressure rising you politely inform your wife you need the conversation to stop and you do what you need to do to calm down. You notice your wife starting to get upset you inform her you no longer feel safe, promise to revisit the issue and leave the room.

DH and I often have to let negotiations go and come back to them. POJA can take a while but it is ESSENTIAL it is done in a loving and safe manner.

Remember the goal of negotiating a POJA ISN'T to find a solution, it is to find a solution WHILE maintaining romantic love between you and your wife. You should come out of a negotiation feeling in love and happy with your spouse. If that isn't going to happen, stop and come back to it later.

Adhere to the ground rules:
Ground Rule #1:
Try to be pleasant and cheerful throughout negotiations
Ground Rule #2:
Put safety first-do not make demands, show disrespect,
or become angry when you negotiate, even if your spouse
makes demands, shows disrespect, or becomes angry with you
Ground Rule #3:
If you reach an impasse where you do not seem to be
getting anywhere, or if one of you is starting
to make demands, show disrespect, or become angry,
stop negotiating and come back to the issue later.

ONLY if you can maintain Guideline 1 can you proceed to Guideline 2:
Guideline 2: Identify the problem from both perspectives.

This is pure information gathering. Listen to your wife's thoughts, worries, fears, goals, desires in an active and open way. You are not debating here - you should be honestly desiring to understand HER perspective, because if you don't you won't get anywhere.

What amount of money on a car would she be comfortable with? Is it just the travel about the job she is worried about?

Then you go- identify your thoughts, desires and feelings. Do not try to one up her thoughts or feelings, inform her of your wishes without attempting to persuade or debate.

She should listen actively as you listened to her.

Do not leave this guideline until you can precisely sum up her position to her satisfaction and she can sum up yours.

The problem with most negotiations is that each person automatically jumps to their ideal solution to the problem. The solution that meets all THEIR needs and then they spend all their time arguing and debating their spouse's needs in an attempt to minimize them and prove that their solution is the 'right' one.

You've decided what kind of car you want, have justified why you deserve it and have minimized your wife's thoughts and feelings, rationalized and debated them away so that she seems unreasonable for wanting something different (hence why you thought it essential to include how much money you make - when it doesn't matter how much money you make it matters how your wife feels about it).

You have predetermined the solution, and are trying to prove to your wife why she is wrong. THIS is why your negotiation isn't getting anywhere. Doing this will make your wife feel unloved and unimportant in the decision making process.

She is doing the same, btw.

You both need to stop.

Solutions are found TOGETHER. Problems are identified individually.

You are keeping yourself from getting to Guideline 3, which is where stuff actually gets DONE.

Guideline 3: Brainstorm with abandon.

This is where you start to problem solve. You know her position, and she knows your's. Now you throw out any and every idea that can meet both of your wishes. Don't get emotionally attached to an idea this early on. Just come up with as many ways as possible that you can think of.

Don't try to do it in one night. Sleep on it, give it a few days - DH and I have had some POJAs go on for months... we suggest solutions, debate the pros and cons, see if we both like it and keep it, or if one of us has a problem with it we drop it. You cannot fall in love with a solution until you BOTH like it.

Finally, after you've brainstormed your little hearts out can you get to:

Guideline 4: Choose the solution that meets the conditions of the Policy of Joint Agreement -- mutual and enthusiastic agreement.

HERE is where you find the solution.

Not at the beginning.

Not when you're sitting alone in your office thinking, "Man I really want this job, this job is just perfect, what I've always wanted, how am I gonna get W to go along with this?"

It is difficult, and it takes a while to get the hang of. It can be frustrating, especially with constantly stopping and starting because you get hung up at step 1, but I can promise you that when executed well and consistently, after a while it is second nature, as easy as breathing, and you come out of negotiations MORE in love with your spouse!

Good Luck!

Me & DH: 28
Married 8/20/05
1DD, 9 mo.
Just Lookin' and Learnin'