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If You Find These Moments Familiar, Your Relationship Is Going To Last

If You Find These Moments Familiar, Your Relationship Is Going To Last

How many people do you know that enjoyed a wonderful relationship for a period of time and then things fell apart? Maybe that’s you. In fact, you may be wondering if the relationship you are in right now will go the distance. I’m here to tell you how long a relationship lasts is not a mystery. Relationships are built in moments, not years.

I married my amazing wife nearly 25 years ago. Our relationship is crazy happy and we love spending time together. Our happiness comes from what we do throughout the day — every day. Perhaps our experience can help you live in daily love just like us.

Here are moments to look for (or create) to make sure your relationship lasts.

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Moments of Joyful Service

Earlier this evening, my wife was working on dinner. When I said, “Thank you for cooking dinner,” she turned and replied with a smile, “Thank YOU for cooking dinner.” You see, we were making dinner together. I wanted to show my appreciation for her effort. Neither of us especially enjoys cooking. However, we are happy to cook for the other. We do this mundane task with joy. Why? Because the task must be done anyway. Doing it as a joyful service keeps out the poison of resentment. Completing a task in this manner gives it special meaning. Look at it like, I’m not just making dinner, I’m making dinner for the one I love. Look for moments to serve with joy.

Moments Filled with Words of Endearment

I almost never call my wife by her given name. I use terms such as “my love”, “pretty girl”, and “love of my life”. Such terms remind her of how much I care for her, but more importantly they are a reminder for me. It’s hard to be upset with someone you call “my love” multiple times a day. Every time I call her by those terms of endearment it burrows into my subconscious, constantly reinforcing the bond between us.

A note to the opposition, referring to your spouse as “the old ball and chain” or “my old lady” has a reinforcing negative effect in your subconscious and is an insult to her. Always refer to your loved one in a positive manner. Use your speech to create moments filled with words of endearment.

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Moments of Compliments

What do your friends think of your loved one? Their opinions of your special person come from two places: interactions your friends have with him or her, and what you say about your loved one. When I am speaking speaking with someone and the topic of marriage comes up I am unfailingly complimentary to my wife. Don’t put me on a pedestal here. I just know how blessed I am to be married to her – and I want it to stay that way. Telling her in person is great, but if she hears it from a third party then it is even more powerful.

How many times have you heard someone complain about their spouse? I’ll bet you quickly decided either the speaker was a jerk or they had married a terrible person. Now, what do you think when someone praises their spouse… when the spouse is not even around? Or better yet, in a situation where their spouse is likely to never to know about it? I speak in front of a lot of groups, often about relationships. My wife isn’t in the audience, but I talk her up anyway. Like the previous point, complimenting her whether she is around or not reminds me just how special and precious she is to me. Be careful to frequently create moments of compliments.

Moments of Love

I realize this one seems obvious, but stay with me here. One thing we learned very early in our marriage is that not everyone feels love in the same way. In his wonderful book The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman reveals the curious truth that most of us are showing love incorrectly to our spouses and loved ones. He likens it to one person speaking English while the other only understands Chinese.

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One of the greatest challenges to making a relationship last is discovering and learning to love each other in a way that is understood. My wife’s love languages are quality time and physical touch. Do you know what I do? I spend time every day sitting down and talking with her. When we walk together I reach out and take her hand. I consciously love her in the ways that make her feel loved.

I can’t recommend Dr. Chapman’s book enough. We’ve repeatedly taught classes based on his principles. Take the time to find out what makes your loved one feel love, then spend every day using what you have learned. Create moments of love for each other.

Conclusion

There are no secrets to making a relationship last. It is simple, but not necessarily easy. The simplicity is in making moments every day that show service, endearment, compliments, and powerful love to another person. The challenge is to be consistent, but you can do it!

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Let love be your motivator.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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