I love drinks from Sonic. The cup is a perfect thickness, the soda is mixed just right, the red straw is fun and sturdy. But the ICE. It’s really all about the perfect chunklette that:

  • cools your drink, but doesn’t melt too fast.
  • hangs around a while in your cup so you can munch on it after the soda is gone.
  • doesn’t stick together in the cup.

This ice is the reason I go to Sonic to get a soda, or even just plain water.


Relationships are kind of like a drink from Sonic.

Sonic cup = relationship
2 Straws = people
Soda = source of conflict
Ice = the influencing agent around the conflict

Accepting Influence    

Relationship researchers Julie and John Gottman report that “Masters of Relationship” use “Accepting Influence” to continue to develop as better spouses. Spouses let their partner influence their decision making by taking their opinions and feelings into account.


It looks like:

  • Actively seeking a common ground for agreement
  • Yielding on some aspects of a problem
  • Give and take
  • Reasonableness
  • Compromise
  • Can we get to “YES”?

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverb

How do you Accept and Give Influence? And Why is it Important?

  • Use a soft start-up (little chunklettes of ice) to open the conversation. Women bring up issues in relationships 80% of the time. SO LADIES, please don’t drop a big ol’ hard block of ice in the cup that is your relationship! All that will do is open up defensiveness and probably tear a hole in the cup (the relationship)!

In a soft start-up use phrases like:

I feel like…

When this happens I don’t understand…

Hey, I was really wanting for us to discuss something important. Is this a good time…

Be careful not to let negativity escalate.  Remember to Respond and Validate one another. Negativity is part of a process of REJECTING a partner’s influence. And escalation becomes a way to shut down a partner and a conversation.

  • The response to a soft start is much more productive, and the resulting conversation is much more likely to be productive. Each of you add little chunklettes of influence as you go back for forth.


SO MEN, if your wife attempts a soft start-up, accept that she’s trying to start communication. Don’t shut her down by getting defensive or being dismissive. This will only make things worse.  Use your heart to listen to her words. Remember, underneath every issue, problem, or complaint is something deeper or more important…a need or want, a desire, a hope, or even a dream.


  • Offer some observations back and forth about this issue. Respond to and validate  your partner. Try not to focus on forming your response while they are still talking. Once you switch to that, your listening ears and heart are turned off. Try seeing this as an opportunity to accept influence from your spouse. The person you love and have committed to for life. Read more about Falling Back in Love.


69% of all conflict is perpetual, i.e. it won’t be resolved. So, if you get better at Accepting Influence from your spouse this will go a long way to building a better relationship long-term.