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8 Key Ingredients for a New Successful Relationship

8 Key Ingredients for a New Successful Relationship

Every relationship has a beginning. And it’s in that time that you set the mood for the rest of the relationship. I’m not talking about the first date, or even the third or fifth. I’m talking about once you are in steady relationship with someone you want a future with. This time is crucial to the health of your relationship. This is when you are really getting to know each other and it’s fun and exciting.

If you are both dedicated to making this relationship last, here are 8 great tips to make sure you’re both on the same page and that you are both striving for a successful relationship.

1. Clarify Expectations

Be upfront with each other about what you want out of the relationship. If you expect something but never tell the other person, don’t be surprised when your expectations are never met. Unmet expectations become a point of contention in many relationships. Just be open and honest with each other from the start.

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2. Work Towards a Common Goal

No matter how much you like someone or how much fun you have when you’re with them, if you aren’t working towards a common goal together, the relationship will fail. What do you want this relationship to mean? What do you want it to accomplish? These are important questions that need to be asked. Don’t assume the other person can read your mind. Talk to them.  

3. Forgive Each Other

Forgive and embrace lessons and experiences from each other’s past. We all come with baggage. Learn to forgive each other and yourself for mistakes made in the past or present. This also means that your learn from your mistakes and try not to do them again. As you both grow and make changes for the better together, you will strengthen your relationship.

4. Live in the Moment

Life is happening right now. Make memories together every day. The beginning of a relationship sets the mood for what the relationship will be like in the future. Set high standards for your relationship. When my husband and I first started dating we both expressed the importance of being healthy and active. So, we went out and did things every weekend. We would go jeeping, hiking, swimming, snow shoeing, we even spontaneously joined a polar bear plunge for charity. (That’s when you pay money to jump into a lake that was literally frozen over that morning. Yeah, it was cold, but it’s an awesome memory that we have and love to look back on.) Make sure you are having special experiences together.

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5. Take an Interest in Each Other’s Hobbies

I love to dance and my husband loves fish. My husband is not a dancer and fish scare me. But we have compromised. My husband takes me dancing on some of our date nights and he puts forth an effort to learn. I let him have fish tanks as long as he cleans them and never own an eel. (Those things freak me out!) I also talk to him about his fish and, honestly, I have learned a lot!

It can be fun to take an interest in each other’s hobbies because you get to learn something new and you get to make your partner happy.

6. Prepare for the Future

I know so many couples that look at dating as play time. They spend money like crazy and when they decide to get married, they are already in debt. While dating is a fun time, you still need to be responsible and try to plan for your future. Don’t get in the habit of spending money you don’t have. Stay out of debt.

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7. Pace Yourselves

The same pace doesn’t work for every couple. Some people need a lot of time; others, not so much. My husband and I started dating, eight weeks later we were engaged, four months later we were married. At our one-year anniversary I was six-months pregnant with our first child. We moved a lot faster than most people, but it was right for us. We talked and we were both OK with the pace we had set. Five years later, we’re still going strong and neither one of us regrets anything. (I should probably point out that we had known each other for just over a year before we started dating.)

If you’re uncomfortable with how quickly or slowly things are moving along, say something.

8. Learn to Communicate

Always talk with each other. In a healthy relationship you should be able to talk to each other about anything. Before going into a relationship you have to understand that there will be hard conversations. There will times when you don’t agree with each other. But always make sure that you are there to listen to one another.

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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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