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Things I Wish I Could Tell The Man I Thought I Would Grow Old With

Things I Wish I Could Tell The Man I Thought I Would Grow Old With

The early days of a wondrous new relationship tend to be filled with glee and magic–and incomparable hope. Ecstatic and exhilarated, we knit together futures we’re certain will unfold. We close the door to doubt and open our arms wide to love, opportunity, and the concept of together forever. And in that space, time dissolves, because we have all we need of it in the world.

So when the strength of a bond frays or a relationship ends tragically–death, divorce, infidelity–we shuffle forward in the dark, trying to recapture lost time, feeling the weight of regret and dashed chances. There are so many things we haven’t experienced together yet, we think. There are so many things left unsaid.

I had an inkling that my marriage was doomed to fail the moment I begged for marble countertops and ended up with brown granite instead. By then, however, we had tied the knot and I was three months pregnant with our child. An architect by trade, my husband claimed to know it all, from the interior structure of our to-be-remodeled home to the inner workings of my heart. As an alpha female who wasn’t used to yielding to someone else when it came to life’s decision, both big and small, the clashes between us grew so vast that they ultimately became as irreparable as a severed bridge. I was left bitter and resentful when I renounced trying to steer the ship. He, an introvert, was left bewildered and cold by the innate differences in our personalities.

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After time partially healed the pain caused by our separation, those things I left unsaid bubbled to the surface with such urgency I could hardly put down my pen. If you, too, are going through a divorce or a separation, know that it’s never too late to speak from that place he or she once touched: your heart.

You expressed your love in ways that took me time to understand.

Quiet and seemingly removed, my husband demonstrated that love can be given in silence and adoration in stillness; it is the sheer presence that counts.

I learned life’s greatest lessons from you.

Without my husband’s incredible influence of me, I would still be searching for someone to save me. He taught me that it is I–and only I–who can save myself.

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Love knows no boundaries.

Geographically, on paper, and to our friends and family, we may be apart. But true love, even if it doesn’t function in the traditional sense, persists. Such fondness doesn’t vanish; it only shifts.

Carpe Diem.

Through our separation, I’ve realized that to eliminate “tomorrow” from one’s vocabulary is to live life to the fullest. Seize what you have today, and love with all of your might–for nothing but a calendar can guarantee tomorrow.

I adored the child inside of you.

So focused on his career and his role as a father, my husband wasn’t inclined to let loose often. But when he did, such vividness and humor and cheer emerged. He might have been embarrassed when this side came out, but I relished every minute of it.

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There was such grace in your small gestures.

From making me coffee in the morning to ensuring I had enough books beside my bed when ill, my husband did a number of little things to elate me, comfort me, and demonstrate his love for me. Some of his kindnesses were left unacknowledged, and yet they never went unnoticed.

You’re still as attractive as the day I met you.

Time can ravish us, time can change us. But the beauty we see in our former partners–that essence; that light–never fades.

You know me better than anyone else.

There are few greater comforts than knowing that your love—whether he or she is part of your past or remains in your presence—knows and adores you through and through. My husband knew my secrets, my passions, my pet peeves, my moods. And there is tremendous beauty in realizing that, at times, no explanation is needed. You are who you are, he sometimes seemed to say in silence, and that is more than enough.

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I should have complimented you more often.

An athlete, a wordsmith, a designer, a fabulous father, my husband possesses myriad gifts that I should have praised more often. Were I to go back in time, I would have pointed out with greater frequency the talents of his that I so deeply admired.

I should have respected the way you argued.

While I raged, he disengaged—a pulling away that found me madder and more frustrated. I cannot change who I am, but going forward, I can temper my ire—and understand that we all navigate disputes differently.

I will cherish our memories together for life.

The first time I saw him. Christmas mornings with our daughter. Ice-skating at Lake Tahoe. Dining at five-star restaurants around the world. Bumping hips in the kitchen as we cooked. Laughing over a good movie, spooning in bed, toasting our glasses. All of these, and more, I will reflect back upon with a bittersweet mix of joy and nostalgia, always holding them near and dear to my heart.

I’m sorry.

When we were young, I thought my husband and I were indestructible. Despite our differences of opinion over innumerable issues. I apologize for the errors I made, the words I can’t undo, the pain I created. I want to tell him that I refuse to admit defeat, but I do accept that our time together has run its course; that I will always cheer him on from the sidelines. And from there, I say, thank you. You were my gift, my partner, my best friend, my goodbye.

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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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