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What Most People Don’t Know Before Getting Married

What Most People Don’t Know Before Getting Married

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the past decade.

Marriage is not two people giving 50/50

Marriage is about two people each giving 100%. When you start keeping track of “all the things you do all the time” and expecting tasks to be 50/50, you can easily start resenting your spouse. Focusing on what your spouse doesn’t contribute to the marriage and how your spouse isn’t being fair can increase your discontentment. Rather than continually keeping tabs of who last emptied the trash can, it can be helpful to focus on making your spouse feel special. Whether it’s a sweet note posted on the bathroom mirror, a little gift “just because,” or a unique surprise date you plan at a thoughtful location, putting in 100% effort in the marriage can strengthen your marriage.

Traumatic events, illnesses, and grief have the potential to bring you closer together or drive you very far apart

Very difficult things can happen in life, and some couples seem to be slammed with one heartache after another. Everyone deals with stress and grief differently. As you endure extreme hardships together, do your best to keep communication open with your spouse. If you’re feeling all out of sorts, explain why to your spouse. Remember that you are two unique individuals, and when stressful events happen, you may process them very differently.

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Our marriage has endured some devastating events, and we haven’t always been the best at sticking together through the hard times. As your marriage weathers the storms, make sure to furiously protect it. At times it may feel like everything in the world is threatening to tear you apart.

Years into the marriage, you’ll still have days you wonder what planet your spouse came from

My husband and I have been married for years, and there are still days I feel like I don’t understand him at all. I don’t even know what else to say about this.

People show love in completely different ways

One of the best books my husband and I have read is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. After decades as a marriage counselor, Chapman became convinced that there are five basic ways to express love emotionally, which he calls the five basic love languages. According to Chapman, each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak in order for the person to feel loved. The five love languages are: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service.

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The Five Love Languages book has changed my marriage immensely, and has helped me understand how to show love to my spouse. I’m very much a Quality Time person. My husband, on the other hand, needs Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service to feel loved. Knowing these differences between us has been eye-opening and has helped strengthen our marriage.

It’s not all unicorns and rainbows

Dating is fun. Everything is new and exciting, and you both put effort into how you look and how you act. Then you get married and you realize you married a human. Who poops. And drools. You won’t be enticed by this person every day. In fact, you’ll be completely grossed out at times.

When you get lost in the daily grind of life, it’s easy to fall into the habit of giving each other the “leftovers” of yourselves, and having your spouse see only your worst sides – when you are physically and emotionally spent. It’s wise to continue to invest in each other after marriage. Invest time and energy into your relationship. Put in effort to make each other feel special. Make sure your spouse gets more from you than venting about your day. Even though not every day is unicorns and rainbows, make a point to regularly share the best parts of yourself with your spouse.

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Laughter fixes many problems

Having a good sense of humor can significantly help your marriage. When you can laugh together, it makes the good times even better, and the rough times a little less difficult.

Giving each other space to spend time with friends and pursue individual goals can greatly enhance your happiness

Many people lose sight of who they are as individuals once they become married. However, I believe it’s very healthy to continue to have interests outside of your spouse. Whether it’s a professional or personal goal, or a hobby you love, nurturing other areas of your life aside from your relationship can help you feel more fulfilled in life. Your spouse won’t (and shouldn’t be expected to) fulfill all your needs. Taking time to connect with friends is also very important.

Your love may grow stronger with each passing year

Marriage isn’t easy, and at times can be incredibly difficult. However, it can also be awesome. Best wishes to you for a long, healthy, happy marriage.

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Featured photo credit: Joe Hunt/Here comes the bride…(and groom) via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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