Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Begin With the End in Mind

Taking a page out of Steven Covey’s book we should “begin with the end in mind.” If you were to write a story about your marriage that covered the span of your marriage how would you want the last page to read? For example “and they lived happily ever after”. If living happily ever after is how you see your marriage in its twilight years what would you need to do on a day-to-day basis from the beginning to achieve that end?

Dr. Robert Paul of the National Institute for Marriage offers the following tips:
Dr. Robert Paul
o Agree to be accountable to each other. Let your spouse be your mirror to help you see what would otherwise be hard to recognize and, thus would hinder your success.

o Allow for trial and error. Sometimes we think we know what we want or need only to discover something different as we go. Keep an open mind.

o Accept disappointment as part of the package.

o “Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional” (Max Lucado). Dr. Paul proceeds to outline how to resolve conflict in a more effective way.

Step 1: Commit to a No-Losers Policy. You both must feel good about where you end up. Commit to finding an alternative you both like. You’ll find that defenses start dropping once you don’t have to watch your back or worry about being strong-armed or sold on an idea. Take comfort knowing that being one of the team’s key members means you won’t accept a solution unless it works for you too.

Step 2: Hear each other’s hearts. This amounts to truly understanding where your spouse is coming from. Identify the emotion behind what is driving each of you to your separate corners. What is truly underlying each of your positions?

Step 3: Pause, Pray and Seek God. Actively include God in the process. Ideally you want to pray together and pray out loud, making sure that part of your prayer includes asking God to help you rediscover unity and to guide you to a decision that honors Him and satisfies each of you. In addition to whatever insights might be derived from inviting God into the midst of your struggle, when a husband and wife come together to seek divine guidance, unity is instantly restored.

Step 4: Seek to Find a Win-Win Solution. Remember the no loser’s policy.

Step 5: Land on One You Both Like. Decide on a solution that works for both of you. Don’t settle easily for something you don’t really care for; because it’s not a win if you don’t like it, and it’s hard to stay enthusiastic and committed to work out an option you’re not excited about.

Step 6: Try It Out

Step 7: Rework If Necessary

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