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7 Truths About Marriage That I Need My Daughter Know

7 Truths About Marriage That I Need My Daughter Know

Transitioning to being a wife equates to drastic changes in a woman’s life. Moving from life as a single to married status involves so many changes that most women wouldn’t know about until they are literally thrown to the wolves, so to speak.

When you are still single and dating, there are things that you can choose not to deal with as a couple because you are, for all intents and purposes, separate entities. When you get married, this changes and under the law you are essentially one entity. Whatever you both individually have is now collectively owned by the two of you. You may share a name and everyone recognizes you as representative of each other.

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This is not always rainbows and butterflies, as many married women will tell you. Marriage is hard work, and there are certain truths I would want my daughter to know before she gets married.

1. Silent treatment solves nothing.

As a married person, you have to drop phrases like “silent treatment” from your vocabulary. Communicate with your partner and always discuss the things that bother you. Often, we tend to let things fester and become bigger problems than they really are. So, if something bothers you, talk about it before it tears you apart. Silent treatment confuses your partner because they want to make things right but they may not even know what they did wrong. So, talk.

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2. Not everyone can be a stepmother.

Going into a marriage, we are often starry-eyed. We think we can handle anything the world throws at us. A word of caution: before you enter into a serious relationship with a person who already has children with a previous partner, truly think about whether you are prepared to be a stepmother and deal with all the complexities that come with the title. The relationship dynamics between a stepmother and child are often difficult. Also, a tense dynamic between your partner and the other parent can put a strain on your relationship.

3. There is no “my” in marriage.

As a single woman, you enjoy your independence and your freedom to use your money as you please. In a marriage, it is not “my money” anymore — it’s now “our money.” Financial issues are the leading cause of fights in a marriage. You have to learn to manage your finances as a couple and be responsible for your financial health as a couple. On the other hand, it’s not unheard of to have an emergency fund that is yours alone. It may sound like a breach of trust, but you never know what the future will bring.

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4. Your partner is not a work in progress.

Many women often confuse what needs to be worked on in a marriage. Once you have married someone, you have accepted them fully as your partner. Any projects or plans you had to change them should be thrown out fast. As a married woman, you should focus on making your marriage better. You shouldn’t expect someone to change for you. There are many compromises a woman can live with for the sake of a good marriage. This does not mean that you have to compromise on your values. It just means that you can choose to see the glass as half empty or half full.

5. Marriage is between two people.

I cannot stress this enough. You and your partner make up your marriage, not your family and friends. Many women tend to share things about their marriage with people that they shouldn’t. Once you are married, you need to learn to keep the details of your marriage private. Family and friends always mean well, but they are also biased in their love for you and will often give you advice that could be misleading. If it concerns your marriage, talk it out with your spouse. If it still seems like it’s too much to handle, seek professional help.

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6. Children are great, but they should not be the sole focus of your marriage.

The first few years of a marriage are strained. Not only do you have to deal with the newness of the marriage itself, but many couples often have children soon after the wedding. I have met many women who love their children, but they wish they could have waited to share wedded bliss for a bit longer before having children. I would tell my daughter to wait. Just give it a few years to iron out the wrinkles in the new marriage and set a strong foundation. Then, start building your family when you are both content in your roles within the marriage and are ready to add to the fold.

7. Winning all the arguments doesn’t make you right.

You have to learn to pick your battles. I have seen women tear their partners down just to prove a point, without realizing that they have caused irreparable damage to the marriage. Nobody likes to argue all the time and no one wants to constantly be in the wrong. There are arguments that are certainly worth having, but there are others that you should just let go.

Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it can turn ugly very fast. The one thing a couple has in common is their love for each other. You can fight and disagree on many things while still maintaining your love for each other. Mutual respect and trust are the glue in any marriage. You choose to treat your spouse respectfully for the sake of your marriage, voicing your opinions but also respecting theirs. You also choose to trust each other and the process everyday. I would urge my daughter to remember these truths.

Featured photo credit: Boating by gagilas via lh3.ggpht.com

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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