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10 Inspiring Quotes That Lead You To A Long And Happy Marriage

10 Inspiring Quotes That Lead You To A Long And Happy Marriage

Did the love of your life just propose? Maybe you’ve just recently said “I do,” or you’ve been hitched for a few years now. With the divorce rates high and stable in the United States, most married couples want to know how to make their marriage last and remain a happy one “until death do us part.”

Ask happily married couples what their secrets are and the success factors boil down to a few key areas: communication, respect, gratitude, acceptance, trust, and friendship.

Check out these 10 inspiring quotes and see if you see your marriage inside them:

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“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate” – Barnett Bruckner

The secret to finding your true everlasting love is to become the love you seek. If you want someone to love, honor, and appreciate you then you must learn to love, honor and appreciate yourself first. Why? Because we teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. Become the love of your life and the love of your life will find you.

“If most of your arguments start softly, your marriage is likely to be stable and happy” – John Gottman

Rather than bark at or attack the love your life when disagreements happen, begin with saying a few things you appreciate about your love. Keep the middle of your conversation focused on the one issue or disagreement and end with something kind. You are far more likely to achieve a successful outcome, even if you simply agree to disagree, than if you assault your partner with ugly words.

“Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite” – Unknown

Comparison truly is the thief of joy and when couples begin to compare their marriage or love story with that of others or those portrayed by Hollywood, that may leave one half of the couple feeling like their missing out. Remember, the grass is always greener when you water your own. Nurture, grow, and celebrate your own love story.

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“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Hold hands. Whisper in each others ears. Play. Make time for each other. Be interesting and be interested. The courtship and the friendship that originally brought you together doesn’t have to end after you say “I do.’ Life’s ups and downs are easier to navigate when you know that you’re meeting it head on with your best friend.

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side” – Zig Ziglar

When you said “I do,” you joined forces, clasped hands, and walked down the aisle together as a united couple. When the outside world of kids, money, in-laws, outlaws, work, and home ownership tries to burst your love bubble and tear the two of you apart, remember, you’re on the same side.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” – Winnie the Pooh

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Be grateful. Begin each day with gratitude. The more gratitude your heart holds, the less negativity and criticism it will harbor. You’ll be less likely to be snarky when you get home from work or crabby when your honey unintentionally hurts your feelings.

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“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”  – Dalai Lama

Your happiness is your responsibility. Your partner’s happiness is your partner’s responsibility. Make no mistake here – the love of your life is not responsible for your happiness. He’s more like BASF. Think of your sweetie as a happiness mood enhancer.

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” Judy Garland

Every day, for the next 30 days, practice the art of the 30 second kiss. That’s right, take your sweetie in your arms and pucker up. Kissing reduces anxiety and stops the static and chatter in your mind. It increases the levels of oxytocin, an extremely calming hormone that produces a feeling of peace. And don’t forget to hug the love of your life as well. Hugging really does make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It reduces stress and tension and provides an overall sense of calmness.

“You are one with your husband until you believe the thought that he should look a certain way, he should give you something, he should be something other than what he is.” Byron Katie

To remain one with your partner allow him to be who he is. To believe the thought that the one you love should change to suit your expectations is an illusion. When we allow each other to be who we are without jealousy, envy, or anger the marriage relationship reaps the rewards of trust, appreciation, and love.

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“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Kahlil Gibran

Understand where your partner ends and you begin. You are a whole person not someone’s better half. You are not the missing puzzle piece to someone else’s life. Pursue your passions and dreams and allow the love of your life to do the same. Your marriage will flourish under the guardianship of two whole people who joined together to become an unparalleled force.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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