If your wedding was like most, the husbands in attendance will have approximately 300-400 years of marital experience.
300-400 years of wisdom.
300-400 years of making mistakes.
And if you are as smart as I think you are (because if you weren’t you wouldn’t be reading this post), you’ll learn from these experienced veterans because they can provide not only advice, but also a list of all their mistakes. Actually, you will need to get the list of mistakes from their wives.
Anyway, armed with this knowledge, you can avoid making those some mistakes and be free to go out and make your own.
My point is this: Effective husbands seek out mentors.
They look for men they can trust, whose marriages they admire and they learn from them.
In short, don’t try to figure it all out for yourself. Use Habit #11 and Talk to the Old Man.
Check back next time when we cover the 12th and last (for now) Habit. The Habit that is the key to making your marriage work.
Yes, you read the title right, Apologize.
Though at first I didn’t believe it myself, I quickly realized that in an effective marriage, it’s the husband who apologizes.
First off, if you do something wrong, you need to own up to it and apologize.
Second, I learned that a wife is never wrong. And if she is… it’s just a misunderstanding.
And that misunderstanding must be the husband’s fault. So you need to apologize.
And don’t do what my Father-in-Law did and try to wait for your wife to apologize. I learned this when he showed me a plaque in his den that states, “On this day, November 27th, 1972, the man of the household won an argument.”
But what it doesn’t say was that the argument started in March… 1969.
He knew that he was marrying Miss Right… he just didn’t realize that her first name was Always.
And you don’t want to wait too long to apologize either because there is a direct connection between how long you take to apologize and how long she remembers the misunderstanding.
So ask yourself, would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?
And practice Habit #9 and Apologize.
Check back next time when you will discover how to avoid having an act of kindness blow up in your face. We will discover how to avoid this in Habit #10.
In my work as a Sales Trainer, I am known at “The Sales Dating Guy” http://www.RichardElmes.com because when I teach Selling Skills, I use the analogy that Selling is like Dating and Customer Service is like a Marriage.
I also teach a Professional Selling class at Conestoga College http://www.conestogac.on.ca .
One day one of my students asked me this question,
“You don’t have to keep selling after you get married… do you?”
My response was, “Only if you want to … stay married.”
Now stats show that almost half of marriage end just after the first year. And I believe this is due to the fact that after they say, “I do”, many husbands believe their work is done.
They don’t realize that marriage is extremely hard work. You have to keep selling yourself to your spouse over and over and over.
You can think of it this way… Your relationship is like a bank account.
In order to get anything out of it (or make withdrawals) you need to first make deposits. Lots of deposits. Big deposits, little deposits, not just once, but almost continuously.
Because when you have a positive balance… life will be good. When you are overdrawn… not so much.
So remember Habit #4 and Never Stop Selling.
Check back next time to find out how to make bigger deposits with less work. This will be revealed in Habit #5.
To explain theis point I need to talk about another one of my great loves… hockey.
I remember one particular game when a powerful Jr. A team from a neighbouring city http://www.kitchenerrangers.com was losing to our city’s young inexperienced team. http://www.guelphstorm.com
Then, with the game still in reach, their new star player (Steve Downie http://lightning.nhl.com/team/app?page=PlayerDetail&playerId=8471703&service=page) jumped one of our players (Mike MacLean http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=76851)from behind for what seemed like no reason at all, knocking him to the ground, and beat the tar out of him. To make matters worse, after being pulled off by the refs, he proceeded to kick his helmet against the boards, knock over a rack of hockey sticks, and toss a case of water bottles onto the ice. (Check out the whole thing on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ4RkHbMeqk&feature=PlayList&p=ECEEA090F95A695E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=50) Not only did he embarass himself, but he left his team short-handed. Our team went on to win 5-0.
It has been said that selfishness is the root of all evil.
Well, Mr. Downie, received an 8-game suspension for his selfish act that night. And isn’t it interesting that while he was suspended his team started winning again.
In short, when players focus on themselves, they lose. But when they focus on the team, they win.
The same lesson applies in marriage. I know when I make major decisions focusing only on me, I get in trouble. But when I focus on the two of us, on WE, things work out better.
Because great teams are just that… teams.
So if you want to win remember Habit #3 and Think WE before Me.
Check back next time to learn what Habit #4 is.
What do I mean by Burn the Boats?
I read a story a few years back about a group of ancient Greek warriors who were famous for their bravery and unshakable commitment to victory. As I read the story further, I soon discovered why?
After the warriors were off-loaded onto their enemy’s shore, their commanders would shout out, “Burn the Boats!”
Can you imagine what would be going through your mind at that moment, if you were one of those warriors watching your only option for retreat being torched in front of your eyes? As the boats slowly turned to ash and quietly sank into the water, you would know that there was no turning back and the only way home was through victory.
So what does this mean for your marriage?
It means that when you take your vows seriously you make a commitment to succeed. And by eliminating all of your other options you will be able to endure even the most challenging times and your wife will know that you will be there for her… no matter what.
So remember Habit #2 and Burn your Boats.
Check back next time to discover what habit # 3 is.
Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”
The same is true in marriage. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want to get out of your relationship, you may be disappointed by how it turns out.
Because all things are created twice.
First in the mind of the creator… then in real life.
And notice that I said create your vision …together. If you plan your life vision together, you’ll both tend to stay on the same page as you go.
So if you haven’t done this yet, here is my suggestion.
Grab your laptop or some paper, find a quiet place, sit down together and dream.
Imagine that you’re about to celebrate your 25th Wedding Anniversary and talk about all the wonderful things that have happened in your life over the past 25 years. Talk about them as if they have already happened.
Perhaps you can talk about the beautiful home you built.
Or how your wise investments have left you financially secure.
Or perhaps you can talk about how little Johnny or Joanie won the Stanley Cup.
My point is this: the best way to predict your future is to create it yourself.
So, remember Habit #1 and Create Your Vision… Together.
Also, if you stumbled onto this blog and you know of a anyone who is getting married or has been married in the past few years, why don’t you send them an email, including the link to this blog. You will both be glad that you did.
Check out my next blog entry as I share Habit #2.
Since most couples spend countless hours preparing for their wedding, and not much time preparing for their marriage, and since most of the focus at the wedding is on the bride and not so much on the groom, I decided to create a handy guide that can help any guy become a Highly Effective husband.
My original title was “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Husbands,” but the more I kept working on it the more it took the form of a 12-step program. So I changed the title to “The 7+ Habits…”
What qualifies me to write a guide like this?
Well at the time of writing this I have been married for over 18 years to the same woman and she still likes me. (most days)
I have also spent over 12 years professionally studying relationships and how people interact with each other. And in my work as “The Sales Dating Guy”, I teach Sales Professionals how to build better relationships with their clients, using the analogy that Selling is like Dating and Customer Service is like a Marriage.
So, whether you are looking to improve your marriage or serve your customers better, enjoy this guide that I will share over the several posts, and remember the Habits as you enter the amazing journey of marriage.
Check out my next post where I will outline Habit #1.