Before you got a driver's license, you learned to drive. Before marriage, learn these 4 skills.
Before someone gets a driver's license, they take a drivers ed course, practice with the help of an experienced driver, and closely study the rulebook. These are all valuable things to do, because driving without the necessary skills would make someone a menace on the roads, and a danger to themself and others.
The same thought process applies to marriage, as well. Before getting a marriage license, people must learn how to do the high-skills activity that partnership requires. Otherwise, couples are at risk for intense fighting, and launching a marriage that's at risk from the outset.
Multiple research projects have clearly established that couples who learn marriage skills have the highest odds of enjoying a long-lasting and gratifying partnership. If you're spending time and energy on a wedding, it makes sense to ensure that the marriage that follows will be a successful one.
Here are the 4 main skill ares you need:
1.Emotional self-regulation. Young children often get mad, cry, or even hit their siblings. Adults, on the other hand, mostly live their lives in the calm zone. The good news is that adults who get overly emotional, especially with anger, can learn how to overcome their anger tendencies. If you find that you raise your voice and get mad more than once every several months (or get so mad that you say and do hurtful things), you've got some important learning to do.
2.Communication. Talking tactfully, especially when the issue is something that distresses you and listening in a way that sustains cooperation, are essential to any marriage. Talking in a way that's complaining, critical, or otherwise hurtful will get you in serious marriage trouble. Dismissing what your partner says, negating what you hear with "but", or ignoring instead of digesting what you hear, is sure to cause extreme marital woes.
3.Conflict resolution. All couples have differences. Successful couples know how to start with a "his-way" and a "her-way" and end up with an "our-way" that they both feel good about. That's true whether the issue is a simple one, like what movie to to see on Saturday night, or big issues like where to live, how to handle money, and how to keep your sex life passionate.
4. Positivity. Every time you share a smile, laugh at your partner's jokes, agree with a comment your partner said, express appreciation, thank your partner for something, or express affection, you are offering "dollops" of positivity. The more dollops you give, the happier you both will be.
The moral of the story? Be prepared. Remember that a wedding is for one day. Marriage, hopefully, is forever.
Go beyond teaching your child to say please and thank you. Also teach them eye contact, a proper hand shake, affection and appreciation for the kind and generous things that are said and given to them. If this does not happen, have them return the gift (either to the person or to you for safe keeping) and explain that they aren't yet ready to receive such a gift.
Donate clothes and toys to those in need (not just to your neighbors when it's easy and they have younger children!) and have your kids be a part of that process. Do this regularly as a family and sort through, package and deliver the goods together so the kids really see where their things are going. Do this often and not just around the holidays.
If you only hang around other affluent families who are not raising their kids with intention, you may be surrounding yourself with those who will not help out with what you are trying to accomplish. Be sure family or friends you are spending significant time with have similar values to yours, otherwise you are going to feel defeated after a while.
Yes, handwritten on paper with a pen! Kids these days generally have shorter attention spans, are easily distracted and aren't taught to take careful time and attention to express their appreciation. This simple yet important act can go a long way as a skill to teach expression of feelings and thoughtfulness.
Practice natural consequences from an early age — share some of your own experiences and teach them lessons such as "life is not fair." In addition, don't over-protect them from disappointments. You have to really understand and believe that failing and falling is a part successful childhood development.
8.Talk to their grandparents and explain your intentions to them.
Share with them your desires to have respectful, appreciative, kind and responsible children and the ways in which you are going to achieve that goal. You will need their help in doing this if they are like most grandparents who want to spoil their grandkids! Ask them to spoil them with love, time, affection and attention—not toys, treats and money.
Last but not least, you should tell your kids the legacy of your family's fortune. When I say wealth or fortune, that is all relative. If you come from significant wealth tell the story of how that was earned and created. If you are self-made, tell that story too—just don't forget that "giving your kids everything that you didn't have" is not always a good thing. There is probably a lot that you learned along the way by stumbling to make you the person you are today.