Tagthird alternative

Six Words to End a Disagreement


I want you to have it. Wouldn’t you love to hear these words when you say what you want? So would your life partner. Instead we say other, less wonderful things: We don’t have the money. I can’t spare the time. You wouldn’t really like it. Too bad. You can’t have it. Dream on! But wouldn’t it feel great to be able to say it? To feel confident it is within our...

More on Turning Disagreements into Shared Victories


How did you do with yesterday’s challenge to solve a toothpaste cap disagreement? A Third Alternative is a solution to your disagreement that will make both of you feel respected, loved, and in control of what matters to you. You create shared specs for your Third Alternative. They include the outcomes each of you values from your initial alternatives. They protect both of you from anything...

Seinfeld Turns “Tell Me My Spouse is Awful” Game into a TV Show


UPDATE: It was as bad as expected (maybe worse, thanks to replaying the meanest two things said in each episode) and unfunny to boot. Tonight’s the night. Jerry Seinfeld’s new Marriage Ref show debuts right after the Olympics closing ceremonies. It’s the “Tell Me My Spouse is Awful” Game for others’ amusement. You know the game. Someone comes into the office or...

Great Real-Life Example of a Third Alternative


Writer, speaker, comedian Patty K and her guy Joe ran into one of those “what do we do now?” choices recently. She enthusiastically encouraged him to go after a dream of his only to find it landed her in her idea of a nightmarish lifestyle. Should Joe give up his dream? Should she tolerate being miserable? Did he have to choose between love and an unhappy companion? Did Patty have to...

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Big, Hairy Problems


When you’re facing a big, hairy problem, you can curl up in a little ball and beg your spouse to solve it for you. Or you can come up with a possible solution and try to talk your spouse into joining you in implementing it. Most of the time, both of these will just leave you with a big, hairy problem and an unhappy relationship. Since, of course, you deserve better, these will probably also...

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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