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5 Foundations Every Successful Relationship Needs

5 Foundations Every Successful Relationship Needs

Having a happy and successful relationship can be a struggle.

It seems that all too often, our relationships go downhill over time, and we are left to wonder “why can’t things just be the way they used to be?”.

Foundations are the key to maintaining all the goodness in your relationship. They will determine the quality and success of your relationships years down the track.

“A house must be built on solid foundations if it is to last. The same principle applies to man” – Sai Baba

If you use the following foundations in your relationship, you will have an incredibly long-lasting, happy and successful relationship.

1.   Laugh together

Laughter is a very powerful thing!

Did you know that laughter is even used as a form of therapy? This is because it has such a positive effect on us.

When you laugh with your partner, it shows that you enjoy each others company, feel positive towards one another and actually “like” each other.

“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either”. – Wayne Dyer

That’s right, laughter is a choice! And it involves choosing to feel happy towards each other, and not angry or negative.

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All too often you see couples who are never happy when they are together. They have become frustrated and are used to each other. And sadly, they lose the excitement and the appreciation they once shared for each other.

If you can relate to this, and would like to bring life and joy back into your relationship, then chose laughter.

Choose to make your partner laugh at least once a day.

If you want to, you can even think of it as relationship therapy, since laughing is a real form of therapy!

2.   Know each others love language

Did you know that we all have different love languages?

Love languages are the different ways that we all communicate and understand love.

Your love language and that of your partner can be as different as Chinese and English!

So it is absolutely essential that you learn your partners love language.

“We must be willing to learn our spouses love language if we are to be effective communicators of love” – Dr Gary Chapman

Here are the 5 different love languages:

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  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

We all have one or two major love languages.

Here is an example of the importance of understanding your partners love language:

  • If your love language is physical touch, a kiss will speak louder than 1000 words – but,
  • If your love language is words of affirmation, one kind or affirming word will speak louder than 1000 kisses

You might be showing love to your partner in every way that you know how and still, they might be telling you that you don’t love them enough. Well, it’s no secret anymore! You need to learn their love language.

3.   Understand love as an action

As you can probably tell from the above point, love is an action.

Love is understanding how your partner feels loved, and then doing it.

People often think that love is a feeling, and that once the feeling disappears – there is little hope for their relationship.

Well it’s absolutely not true!

“Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb” – Stephen Covey

This quote shows us that “feeling in love” is just as much of a choice as “Loving as an action”.

When you choose to love your partner (even if they didn’t do anything to deserve it), you are showing them real love. Love, that is unconditional and that does not rely on them loving you first.

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If you view “love as a feeling”, you will both be waiting and waiting – and you still won’t “feel it”.

So understand love as an action and a choice, and then do it! You will have an incredibly happy and fulfilling relationship because of it.

4.    Don’t cross the line

This is one of the most important things to remember for a happy and successful relationship.

There are certain things that we never want to say or do to our partner. These are things that you would consider “crossing the line”.

Maybe for you “crossing the line” means:

  • Losing your temper
  • Yelling or screaming at your partner
  • Saying I hate you
  • Saying something unkind to your partner
  • Using manipulation to get what you want
  • Going to sleep while being angry at your partner
  • Not saying sorry when you know you should have
  • Getting aggressive towards your partner
  • Bringing your partner down because you were angry

These are all damaging things for a relationship, but if you ask any child “Do your parents do any of these things” most of them would probably say yes to a number of them.

My theory is – that once you “cross the line”, it becomes easier and easier to do it again and again.

You might not like to do those things but in the heat of an argument – if you have already said “I hate you” once before, it becomes a LOT easier to say it again.

If you want a happy and successful relationship, try really hard to not “cross the line”.

Your relationship will be so much better off for it and you will stand a better chance at actually “liking each other” years down the track.

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5.   Apologize often

We all make mistakes. We all say and do damaging things to our relationship.

We are simply human.

Successful relationships rely on us admitting when we are wrong and then moving past it.

Apologizing makes the process of moving on 1000% times faster and easier.

When we don’t apologize when we know we should, we are being proud.

Love is not prideful.

“In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes”  John Ruskin

To have a successful relationship, apologize often – so that you don’t make the mistake of being proud.

Well, that’s it for the 5 foundations every relationship needs to have. If you use these foundations, the chances of having an incredibly happy, long-lasting and successful relationship will increase astronomically. Good luck!

Featured photo credit: @Depositphotos.com/gpointstudio via depositphotos.com

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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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