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11 Secrets Couples with a Lifelong Marriage Want to Tell You

11 Secrets Couples with a Lifelong Marriage Want to Tell You

You’ve seen that adorable elderly couple sitting on a park bench or taking a stroll around the park. They’re always holding hands and they look so comfortable with each other, like they’ve spent their entire life in synchronization. If you could interview that couple, there are probably a few major things you could learn about cultivating a successful relationship.

The American Psychological Association estimates that between 40 and 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. That number is a 40 percent increase from 40 years ago, and it’s not looking any better for the future.

Divorce is sometimes the best option for everyone involved, but other times, it could have been prevented if there had been some great role models to turn to in time of need. The reality is that you could be sabotaging your relationship without even realizing it! If you could spy on a couple that has a successful, lifelong marriage, here are a few things you’d notice they do.

1. They tell each other what they’re thinking

How many of your arguments come as a result of poor communication? Contrary to popular belief, being “one” in marriage doesn’t mean that you have the same thoughts. Even those who’ve been married for 50 years can’t tell what their spouse is thinking all the time. That’s why it’s so important to tell your spouse what you’re thinking, without making them guess.

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2. They continue to date each other

If you look back at the days before you were married and compare them to now, you’ll probably notice a significant difference in the attention your spouse pays to you. That’s probably because before you were married, you went on real dates.

Dates are the best place for you to really bond as a couple. You can revert to the days where you were trying to impress one another and make each other happy while getting away from the stress of life, kids, and work.

3. They have children

These married couples will likely tell you that having children was one of the most difficult things they’ve done. They’ll also tell you it’s one of the most rewarding. Children define a new kind of intimacy among parents. Creating a child, finding out you’re pregnant, being a part of the birthing experience, teaching your child to ride a bike, and more are all a part of an amazing experience that helps your entire family grow closer together.

4. They argue with a purpose rather than for the sake of arguing

There are probably a few things that you and your spouse argue about over and over. For example, he leaves his muddy shoes on the carpet, while she parks the car crooked. The list could go on and on. Instead of yelling and complaining without any kind of resolution, argue with the intent of finding a solution.

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Constructive arguing involves asking questions, understanding your spouse’s feelings, and presenting some kind of solution. These arguments end with an action. Try and plan to correct the problem, so that the topic doesn’t come up again in the same negative light.

5. They don’t complain unless they have a solution

“You always leave the butter sitting on the counter.” “You never help me get the kids ready for school.” “You never remember parent teacher conference.” Sound familiar? Those in lasting relationships recognize that constant complaining gets you nowhere. All it does is heighten your anger and increase the likelihood of an argument. It’s okay to vent – just make sure you have a solution for what’s frustrating you before bringing it up.

6. They express gratitude

The best way to avoid complaining is to look for things to be grateful for in your spouse. You could even try documenting these things in a gratitude journal. It might take a little pondering at first, but you’ll soon find that there are many things to be grateful for. Your gratitude can go as deep as, “I’m grateful that my husband never gives up.” Or it could be as lighthearted and simple as, “I’m grateful that my wife picked me up from work today.”

You can also try and take the time to express gratitude for your spouse verbally. Studies show that those who make sure their spouse feels more appreciated have significantly greater feelings of love and contentment than those who go days at a time without saying thank you.

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7. They recognize that their marriage comes first

Any lifelong couple will tell you that your spouse should come before anything else, even a deadline at work, and especially a night out with friends. When you prioritize your marriage, you cultivate an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, which is an invaluable quality in any marriage.

8. They prioritize pillow talk

It’s easy to go to bed at separate times, especially when you have different interests and responsibilities to attend to. But couples who have been married for years recognize the value of pillow talk. They make it a priority to go to bed at the same time, even if it means going to bed later or earlier than you like. The time alone with your spouse in such an intimate setting will be priceless for relieving stress, talking about kids and work, and discussing hopes and dreams. These night-time chats really help develop your relationship – in every sense of the word.

9. They nurture common interests

Most couples don’t have nearly as much in common as they thought they did when they were dating. She might suddenly lose interest in ESPN, and he might suddenly decide he doesn’t like star gazing after all. But there will be some things that every couple still has in common. Successful marriages find the few things they have in common and cultivate a strong relationship through their common interests.

10. They use trust and forgiveness daily

Happy couples rely on trust and forgiveness. These essential qualities silence arguments and revitalize feelings of love and contentment. This is founded on unconditional love and an understanding that we all make mistakes. It is important to note; however, that this is a communal deal. There is a fine line between being trusting and forgiving, and getting hurt. Couples that are willing to mutually learn to trust and forgive each other are the ones that will survive.

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11. They hug each other

Physical intimacy has more pull in a relationship than many people give it credit for. Full body hugs are one of the best ways to feel closer to your partner and release stress. This fact is even backed by science. Hugging releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is nicknamed the “love hormone” because of the feelings it can evoke. So if you’re looking for a way to create greater feelings of love between you and your spouse, give each other a nice, tight hug before you leave for work and as soon as you get home.

Featured photo credit: artisticfilms via pixabay.com

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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