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4 Things Happy Couples Don’t Do No Matter What Happens

4 Things Happy Couples Don’t Do No Matter What Happens

Relationships aren’t easy. At times, being someone’s other half can feel like carrying the Olympic torch. It takes commitment, hard work and emotional stamina to keep the flame of love alive. However, love isn’t meant to feel like a grueling test of endurance. Happy couples don’t need to perform mental and emotional gymnastics on a daily basis to keep their torch lit. Here are four things gold medal partners do not do in the game of love.

1. Keep score.

People who keep track of what their partner does and does not do for them generally do so because they feel overburdened. Whether one person is putting in 10% or 110%, relationships that keep a tally of how much effort each partner is contributing will never add up to 100. When a person approaches a relationship with a “what have you done for me lately?” attitude, she will be disappointed, often. If a couple truly desires a relationship based on utility, then go ahead; design a spreadsheet, create a chore chart and divvy up demands. Gold medal couples see the big picture. They see the work that each person does as part of a team effort. Go team!

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2. Take each other for granted.

Most couples, gold medal or not, occasionally forget how much work goes into burning the eternal flame. When the spark is gone, the energy that both people spend can go unnoticed and unappreciated. If someone feels like their efforts are expected and then unappreciated, they will begin to question why they’re in such a thankless relationship in the first place. Again, gold medal partners realize that love is a choice they make each and every day. They approach each other with “an attitude of gratitude” because their partner has yet again chosen to give their time, attention and affection to them. Instead of becoming apathetic, happy couples remain appreciative of each other’s giving choices.

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3. Belittle each other.

The irrationality of this action should speak for itself. Deriding someone does not demonstrate unconditional love. Rather, belittling a significant other conveys a lack of love. When people call negative attention to their partners short-comings, they do not show their acceptance of their partner. Instead, they exhibit a rigidity that makes their partner feel unaccepted and unloved. In loving relationships, partners declare their love through a willingness to work through each others imperfections, together. Content couples realize each others inadequacies as a way to become closer, not further apart.

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4. Spend every moment together.

In the first blush of love, spending every waking moment together is normal. When Cupid shoots his shaft of love from up above, both partners can go to extremes to be with each other. Ah, here lies the rub. Too much together time can create the first three issues on this list: a neurotic attention to who does more, a lack of appreciation and an opposition to the the other’s “otherness.” Happy couples appreciate alone time. They enjoy their independence to see and do different things because at the end of the day, they share these experiences with each other. Gold medal partners understand that a little independence goes a long way.

Though these are only a few “don’ts,” the common denominator in healthy relationships simplifies to one basic “do,” balance.  Emotionally stable people, whether in pairs or solo, work to achieve balance in their life. Understanding that love is only one aspect of life, albeit an awesome one, happy couples realize that the give and take they are a part of is also a part of the grand scheme of things. Couples who enjoy this equilibrium have a relationship that helps them not only become better partners, but better people.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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