As we all know, about 50% of marriages end in divorce. The stats get worse for second (60%) and third (73%) marriages. I got divorced in 1996. I was 20 when I got married. Ever since then I have been very gun shy to try it again. I’m a romantic and love the idea of sharing my life with a loving, fun partner. Yet, given the stats, the difficulties, and the fact that life can be grand alone, marrying again hasn’t been in my cards. However, I have had long-term relationships and have studied endlessly on how to improve those relationships. Additionally, all my business learning is about having better relationships with clients, employees, vendors, and colleagues. I’ve suggested many of these business readings to you before with topics including: crucial conversations, emotional intelligence, direct communication, conflict is good, what good teamwork looks like, and group dynamics.
It seems to me marriages fail for many of the same reasons business relationships fail.
- Are you communicating in a way that is conducive to improving the relationship?
- Do you have the courage to have the correct conversations?
- Do you address concerns and issues quickly and often?
- Are you able to ask for what you want?
- Do you look in the mirror and truly recognize the part you have to play in the problem?
In all my dating, I’ve been surprised to hear from men about their past relationships and how they did not talk about the problems. I’ve heard stories of large credit cards charges, differences in parenting styles, issues with intimacy and sex, concerns about too much drinking, etc. and none of it was discussed. Well, obviously avoidance doesn’t work. How about learning how to have conversations? I recently read an article that has some fun questions to get started. These 40 questions can help you get to know each other much better. Or how about before your child gets married suggest they go through a 1001 questions and see if they still want to. Questions connect you with people.
There is scientific research on the indicators that a relationship is going to fail. They are: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. You can read about it in this book – The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Another great book to consider before taking the plunge is Marriage Rules. Another great book that could help your relationship thrive is Love is Never Enough.
Well, I don’t know if I’ll get married again. My guy doesn’t mind answering all these questions, so that is a great start. Hopefully, I’ll be better prepared if it does happen.
What questions do you ask to help your relationships?