What to do when your spouse pushes for an answer:
- If your spouse is pressuring you to agree to a major point that you are not ready to give away, neutralize the problem by asking this question: “What if [this big thing you want from me] was not a problem? Where would we stand then?”
- If this tactic doesn’t move the major issue out of the spotlight, then ask to shelve it until some of the smaller issues are resolved. You can always revisit the major issue later, but by then it may no longer be a do-or-die obstacle.
What to do when your spouse heads for the door:
- If your spouse is through talking and stands up to stalk out angrily, then calmly say: “If you are intent on giving up and taking this to court, then please take this with you and at least think about it.”
- Scribble a quick offer on a plain piece of paper, fold it, hand it to them and tell them not to open it until later. Limit the offer to only the biggest issue.
- If your spouse is done negotiating, then so be it. But if there is some glimmer of hope for reviving settlement talks, the note gives the other side a face-saving way of returning to the table.