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15 Things Serious Couples Understand

15 Things Serious Couples Understand

Before I met my wife, I had never been in a relationship which lasted more than a few months. The thought of being with the same person for a long period of time somewhat frightened me, but as I write this, I can’t remember why. That’s because the past six years have been filled with the most amazing love I could have possibly asked for. I won’t go on and on about what a fairy tale I’m living, but in all honesty, because we follow the points in this article, my marriage is as close to a fairy tale as can be.

1. Living separate lives, together

When you first enter a relationship, all you want to do is be with that person. Nothing else matters; friends, school, and work all take a backseat to your new-found love. Not only that, but either side of the relationship might feel slighted if an offer for a date is rain-checked for a night. As you grow together, you realize that it’s important not to get too attached and let other aspects of life pass you by, and to let the other person have the same freedom that they allow you.

2. Compromise is necessary

Once it’s been established that each person in a relationship accounts for two individual lives, it’s important for each to see the world from the other’s perspective. You can’t just have it your way 100% of the time; sometimes you have to do things you don’t exactly want to do. However, compromising can lead to whole new experiences you never would have had if it weren’t for your significant other. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a craft fair by myself, but going to one with my wife is another opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. The same goes for when I drag my wife to a Yankees game. By compromising, we introduce each other to a new world that we otherwise would never have known.

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3. Understanding is vital

Along with compromise must come understanding. It’s one thing to compromise and be okay with your partner spending the night out with friends, but it’s much more important to understand why they need that time. Understanding a person’s needs is just as important as letting them have their way at times. By doing so, not only are they fulfilled, but you also are comfortable in knowing their intentions.

4. Jealousy ceases to exist

The best relationships work under the knowledge that there is only one person out there for the other. This understanding is truly important in allowing each other to grow separately and individually. It means that one can spend time away without the other constantly wondering what they’re up to. There’s a huge difference between not being able to wait until the other is home so you know they aren’t messing around, and not being able to wait until they’re home because you want to hear all about their night.

5. Grudges must be dropped

In order to move forward in a relationship, you must let go of the past. There’s no point in forcing your partner to carry a burden because they made a mistake months ago; and if it’s something that continues to pull at you, the relationship is doomed anyway. Bringing up past arguments only serves to rehash negative feelings. Serious couples realize each party will make mistakes, and they will grow closer as they let each other’s faults slip away.

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6. Apologies and forgiveness work hand-in-hand

True apologies work in two stages: the act of saying sorry, and the act of changing your behavior. Forgiveness also works in two stages: the act of showing forgiveness, and the act of letting go. Like we discussed, holding a grudge is nothing but detrimental to a relationship. Of course, if a party doesn’t hold up their end of the apology, it needs to be revisited. But the point of apologizing is to improve as a person and as a couple. Even the best relationships require hard work.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Just like letting go of grudges, serious couples don’t let petty annoyances get on their nerves. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, you can’t nitpick at the tiny things. And, like with grudges, if something small really pulls at you, the relationship isn’t meant to be. The mark of a true relationship is the fact that each of you knows everything about each other and looks past their insignificant negative factors to see the overall good person that they are.

8. Communication is key

Keeping feelings bottled up is a surefire way to ensure an explosion. Serious couples survive so long because they talk to each other. They lay their feelings out on the table and make it clear when something bothers them. Just like with apologies, an open line of communication serves to improve the relationship.

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9. Communication must be pure

A common problem in society today is people have trouble discussing the “tough stuff” in person. Text messages, emails, even phone calls can all exacerbate an issue if one party takes something the wrong way. The most loving couples know they can face each other head-on in order to solve their problems, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to do so.

10. Honesty is the best policy

We all have secrets, and everyone has baggage. But the best part about being in a serious relationship is that you can let these secrets out, since you have someone to help carry your load. And as far as being honest with your significant other, there’s no reason not to be. From a logical standpoint, why would you want to spend time with someone you can’t be yourself around? And from an emotional standpoint, loving someone means being able to bare everything to them, good and bad.

11. Cultural norms are meaningless

My wife and I were together for five years before we even lived together, let alone got engaged. While this was partly due to her being in school and other aspects of our lives, we simply never felt pressured to jump into something we weren’t ready for. In those five years, I can’t begin to tell you how many of our friends moved in with a partner, broke up, and had to move back home; or how many got engaged and broke it off; or how many had kids before they were ready. We’ve taken it slow, but it’s because we wanted to know we were ready for the next step. On the other hand, we did push our wedding up a year, because we were ready much sooner than we thought we’d be!

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12. Keeping it fresh

Everyone’s heard the saying “the honeymoon’s over,” which, to me, is a euphemism for “we’re in a rut already.” I don’t mean to be rude, or make it sound like my relationship is perfect, but that’s how that sounds to me. People in serious relationships never quite “get used” to each other; but that’s because each of them is always doing something to surprise the other. Something as simple as cooking a nice dinner, going out to eat on a Tuesday, or getting flowers “just because.” Making sure you never fall into a routine is how you ensure you never hit a snag.

13. Fidelity is never a question

Of course, serious relationships require fidelity. I guess this should go without saying. The running thread through this article is simply, if you have doubts about being with only one person, you’re not taking the relationship seriously. People in serious relationships can look at each other and know they couldn’t ask for anything more from this world besides the loving embrace of their soul mate.

14. Focusing on the future

Couples who plan together, stay together. They don”t just go about their day-to-day life, eventually reaching the points where they “should get married” or “should start a family.” They actively plan these momentous occasions. It’s part of the fun of being in a serious relationship: making commitments to take the next steps in life together.

15. Unconditional love thrives

We’ve touched on it in some of the other entries, but unconditional love transcends all else. True matches made in heaven are full of a love that is never-ending, through the good and the bad. There are no doubts, no hesitations, no hangups. You see past the other’s mistakes, and you love them with every fiber of your being, without question.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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