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8 Things Happily Married Couples Do Differently

8 Things Happily Married Couples Do Differently

People want love in their lives. People need love in their lives. As they walk down the aisle, people believe in “forever,” and they are firmly convinced their own marriages will last.

However, in modern society, divorce is no longer an uncommon event for once-happily married couples; it has become a way of life. In fact, not only are divorces more widely accepted than ever, but today, it isn’t unusual for individuals to be divorced more than once. While we increasingly have the freedom to select (and de-select) a partner without fearing the repercussions of societal stigma, divorce is still one of the most traumatic experiences a person might ever face.

Want to increase the chances of your marriage lasting? Consider these ideas:

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1. They have good conflict management skills.

As good as life can be, it will never be perfect. All married couples experience personal challenges which will affect their relationships. The chances are great there will come a time when the things that make you happy (work, money, children) cause serious conflict in your marriage, too.

Whether the conflict manifests as a full-blown relationship meltdown or subtle tension bubbling below the surface, happily married couples address it. They tell their partners how they feel and what they would like, then they listen to what the other person has to say. Happily married couples manage conflict with empathy, open-mindedness and kindness.

2. They treat one another with respect.

As days, months, and years of marriage pass, people start to take their spouses (as well as their best qualities) for granted. As you find yourself falling into this complacency, your partner could someday recognize (in surprise) that you treat your dog with more respect than you treat them. This is a painful realization.

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Happily married couples understand their partners want to feel like the king or queen of the castle. They know how to treat royalty; with the honor and respect the partner not only deserves, but that was a promise of the marital union. Not only do happily married couples know how to be respectful, they are respectful–even when they are angry or have been wronged.

3. They support each other in achieving their dreams and overcoming their fears.

Along with shared dreams and challenges, individually, married couples possess unique desires and worries. Happily married couples guarantee the safety of their partners’ hearts by treating those hopes and anxieties with care. While there may come a time when a partner has to express disagreement (for the highest good of the relationship) with something the spouse wants (or with an unhealthy pattern of behavior), as often as they can, happily married couples bolster their spouses.

4. They get on the same page about money.

Many marriages fall apart over money. While people don’t have to share identical philosophies about finances, happily married couples talk about how much money they have, how they prioritize spending and how they will save for a rainy day. They recognize that not arriving at a common ground over money leads to worry, stress, and most certainly the beginning of the end.

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5. They allow each partner to have a life independent of the relationship.

Happily married couples know that healthy individuals create a healthy partnership. Part of being a healthy individual is exploring and expressing your own passions without the interference (or forced involvement) of your partner. Nothing will smother the flames of love more quickly than jealousy and possessiveness. Happily married couples recognize the value in allowing each spouse to spend time being “selfish,” which ultimately increases the willingness (and ability) of each to be selfless.

6. They place their friendship as the highest priority in the relationship.

When everything is going wrong in the relationship (or in life), happily married couples draw on the biggest asset they share – friendship. A couple’s friendship is an ever-evolving work in progress, and it changes as people age, as interests change, as children are born, and as the nest becomes empty. Happily married couples constantly cultivate the friendship with their spouse to ensure the roots grow strong and deep, qualities which serve the marriage when it’s forced to weather a storm.

7. They remember everything is temporary.

Happily married couples understand that everything is temporary and hard times will pass. Through uncertainty and fear, there are lessons in perseverance to learn. Happily married couples look at difficult experiences for those lessons, shift perspective and adapt in concert to make it through…together.

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8. They are optimistic, laugh and have fun.

In spite of hardships that will happen, happily married couples look for the joys in life. They believe there is always something to be grateful for, and they look for the gift in each difficult experience. Above all, happily married couples remember the value of keeping a sense of humor, laughing and having fun together.

May you find great happiness in your marriage.

Featured photo credit: Young couple in love outdoors via bigstockphoto.com

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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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