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10 Things to Know Before You Say “I Do” to Lifetime Commitment

10 Things to Know Before You Say “I Do” to Lifetime Commitment

If you are considering the lifetime commitment of marriage, or if you are already engaged and have your special date set, you will want to know these 10 pieces of advice. Before my wife and I said “I Do” fifteen years ago, we ignored most of the advice experienced couples gave us. These 10 things will save you and your spouse a great deal of heartache if you will put them to work. Below are the 10 things married people want you to know before saying “I Do”:

1. Live Your Life as a Single Person, First

Face the facts, you need to enjoy your life while you are single. This is a time in your life when you should take time to travel, explore, find your place in the workforce, and work out your individual kinks. Know yourself before you try to know someone else.

2. Get Financially Sound

One of the worst things you could do to your future spouse is bringing a heavy load of debt into the marriage. Worse than this would be bringing bad financial habits into your marriage. There are tons of resources available with great information to help you grasp the importance of being financially sound. Don’t bring unnecessary burdens into your marriage.

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3. Realize People Change

This one is tough to understand until you have been there and it especially applies if you are saying “I Do” at a young age. People change because of life’s circumstances, events, and other influences. Just know, your spouse, even yourself, will change over time. The key to success in your marriage is knowing ahead of time you will need to be able to adapt to a changing spouse, and a changing you, over the years.

4. Get Your Priorities in Line

If you are accustomed to hanging out with the guys six nights a week or hanging out with the girls in clubs on the weekend, it is time to change your priorities. If you think you can put yourself in these positions after saying “I Do”, you are setting yourself up for a failed relationship. Understand this; I am not saying you can no longer have fun, but you must respect your spouse when you take your vows. You should communicate your priorities well before setting a date for the big day.

5. Communicate with Your (Future) Spouse

This is the life blood of your relationship. Over the past fifteen years, my wife and I have had our share of conflict, with the majority of conflicts being caused by the lack of communication or miscommunication. Be intentional and deliberate when communicating with your spouse. This could be as simple as calling your spouse to let him/her know you are going to be late for work, always give an estimated time of arrival.

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6. Respect Your Spouse

This should be in all bold, italicized, and all caps. Maybe you should consider having it tattooed across both arms and your chest. Respect in a relationship determines how severe, and how often, conflict will be in your relationship. Learn to respect yourself. When you can respect yourself, you can adequately respect your future spouse. Respect is simply this: Considering the feelings and needs of another over your own.

7. Never, Ever, Quit

Don’t go into your marriage thinking ahead of time, “If he/she does this, I am out”. You must be open to forgiveness from the start. Regardless. No, I am not suggesting you tolerate any type of physical, mental, or verbal abuse, but, beyond these issues, learn to forgive. After marrying my wife at the age of eighteen, I packed my stuff and threatened to leave multiple times the first year. Show commitment to your future spouse. Don’t threaten to leave. Don’t mention leaving. Be committed. Never quit.

8. Make Sure You Can’t Live Without Him/Her

Listen, if you date casually now and if you can go days without talking to him/her, you should reconsider your plans to marry. Marriage is a covenant between two people who are best friends, first. Best friends talk. They have conflicts, but they are fair about dealing with conflict. Think about this: If your spouse disappeared from your life today, how would you respond?

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Reality is none of us are promised tomorrow. I know, stop with the depressing talk. This is reality, and once all the parties and celebrations are over, reality hits you between the eyes like a baseball thrown at 95 MPH. If you two aren’t even friends now, maybe you should consider your decision: marriage is a commitment for life.

9. Be Prepared to Give 100%

You have heard the cute little saying, “marriage is 50/50”, right? Well, that’s crap. It is not 50/50, in fact, it is more like, you give all you have and your spouse gives all they have, plus some. Marriage will chew you up and spit you out if you go into it thinking you can get by with giving half an effort. It does not work that way.

10. Never Stop Dating

Do you remember the very first time you and your spouse, or future spouse, went on a date? Do you recall how your heart was beating out of your chest at some point during this date? Often times after the vows are exchanged, us men especially, tend to sit back on cruise control. Don’t do this! Celebrate her! Celebrate him!

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Pursue your lover like he/she is still considering spending their life with you. When you love, respect, and pursue your spouse, you will reap unending rewards. Yes, guys, sometimes this means sex. To men, be men. Your wife wants someone to lead the way. Lead her by loving her, respecting her, and never, ever, stop pursuing her.

Featured photo credit: NGDPhotoworks via pixabay.com

More by this author

J. A. Davis

Founder & Owner of Enlivify Total Solutions, LLC

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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