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Human Dynamic Asia Pacific Ltd.

Issue No. 47, April 2008

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Am I ready for Marriage?

Most young men and women will be unlikely to have a


confident answer to this vital question. High school
may have prepared us for the intricacies of daily life,
our parents may have prepared us to be independent
adults, but perhaps no one can be fully prepared for
the issues and complexities that come with marriage.
Human Dynamic
Global Partner for People Effectiveness
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Am I ready for Marriage?
by Anshul Verma (HDAP BD Manager - India)

Most young men and women will be unlikely to have a confident answer to this vital question. High school may have prepared
us for the intricacies of daily life, our parents may have prepared us to be independent adults, but perhaps no one can be fully
prepared for the issues and complexities that come with marriage.

Although our journey to find ‘The One” may be an emotional rollercoaster, fraught with highs and (sometimes plenty of)
downward spirals, miraculous things can happen once a person matures and takes stock of personal goals and needs in a
potential marriage.

Before you commit to marriage though, take some time to examine your current status in life. By asking yourself the tough
questions now, you'll discover that the rituals and challenges of engagements, ceremonies and in-laws won't be nearly as
daunting. Marriage is a serious commitment for both parties, so consider the following before making this important leap.

1. Am I prepared financially for marriage? 4. Can I truly forsake all others?


Being financially-prepared for marriage may not relate at all One fear many individuals have about marriage is the all-
to reaching your own personal financial goals. Practically, too-real prospect of infidelity. In the casual dating world, one
what you need to take into account is whether you are could occasionally check out anyone off the street – the
earning enough to manage your mortgage, supplement babe with the legs or the hunk with the biceps. We're
your spouse’s needs, pay your credit card bills etc without surrounded by attractive people every day, but there is a
racking up huge debts. Other areas for consideration real difference between idle fantasizing and an actual extra-
include future plans for children, possible relocation, etc. In marital encounter. Partners must learn to co-exist with
truth, raw income is no guarantee of successful financial attractive ‘possibilities’ while remaining true to their
management in any aspect of life; don’t let money issues marriage vows. In today’s society and across cultures, most
dissuade you from a loving marriage. You and your partner people place great significance on fidelity and trust. Are you
can, and should, plan together to establish a financially- ready for this commitment and remain true to your partner in
stable and healthy marriage. the face of marital challenges and distractions?

2. Am I ready to give up singlehood? 5. Have we discussed the important issues of our


Most people look back yearningly to their young adulthood married life?
and almost invariably consider these years the best time of There are some elements of marriage that should be settled
their lives. They could do anything they wanted, when they long before the actual wedding day. Are you comfortable
wanted, and with whomever they wanted to. The idea of with each other’s views on religion, money, and children, for
giving up this independence is unsurprisingly intimidating. example? Have you discussed potential conflicts arising
Men or women who have lived on their own for many years from such issues, and how you might manage them as a
do develop deeply-ingrained habits which are difficult to couple? Can you live happily with someone who has very
change. The day after the wedding probably marks the end different opinions or beliefs from you?
of an era of pure independence; for some, you may have to Other important issues to consider include plans for moving
report your plans, be expected to maintain a certain level into a new home together or sharing your present housing?
of cleanliness and responsibility; your money for some Will you live with your parents, or your in-laws? Will your
reason becomes 'our money', and go towards hitherto work schedules need to be adjusted to accommodate this
unthought-of necessities such as groceries, clothes and new life together? What if your partner gets a lucrative job
household supplies. Nevertheless, a healthy level of offer in another city? Are you flexible enough to quit your
accountability and stability may not be such a bad thing at own job for the needs of your spouse? It's important to
all. know how your spouse feels about relocation. Would you
need to take care of each other’s elderly parents? Etc.
3. Am I entering into this commitment for the right
reasons? 6. What personal goals will I have after marriage?
Sometimes, a romantic relationship that does not end well Although marriage means living a life together with another
may lead to a rebound relationship. The danger is when person, we continue to grow as individuals as well. Are you
such relationships become too serious too fast. Although comfortable with where you are now, or do you anticipate
the new relationship may feel real enough, the ‘wounded pursuing higher education? Do you have side interests
partner’ may unknowingly be trying to prove something to which may involve many hours of your spare time? It's
his ex-girl/boyfriend by marrying the next person he/she important that spouses understand certain passions you
meets, when in fact the subconscious goal was to seek may have, even if they don't necessarily share them.
temporary comfort and solace. This is absolutely the worst Spending time in pursuit of a hobby may seem perfectly fine
time to consider marriage. to you, but it also means time not spent with your spouse.
What a Babe! / He is too hot! – Search for beauty that’s This can lead to frustration and anger if you don't ration out
skin deep! Most people today are well-groomed; some your spare moments fairly. Pursuing higher education is a
simply look good. There is probably nothing wrong in worthy goal, but can your spouse accept the loss of your
desiring an attractive spouse but bear in mind that these attention or a temporary dip in the household income? The
feelings that may not be long-lasting; physical idea is to think for two people whenever possible, and
attractiveness should not be the sole reason to base your consider how your actions and decisions will affect another
choice of spouse on. person.

Human Dynamic Still unsure? Consider talking to your work life coach to see
if you are ready for marriage. Gain insights and advice on
Global Partner for People Effectiveness how to have a healthy relationship within a marriage, and
grow together as a couple.
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From the Desk of
your Work-Life Coach
Dear Coach…
I am 27 years old this year and am working for a major bank. At work, I met a 24-year-old girl who works for a PR
agency. We have been going out quite frequently for the past year. While we like each other and are looking at the
possibility of marriage, we are still extremely uncertain as to whether†we are ready or not for the next stage. Is
there any way of knowing if we are in fact ready for marriage?

Reply from the Coach:


Marriage is one of the biggest steps one takes in life; it’s no wonder that many people ponder the question “Am I
ready?”

Consider the following:


1. Are you financially ready for marriage? If you or your new wife decides to quit, would you be financially stable
enough to support each other?
2. Should the need arise, would you be prepared to adjust your lifestyle e.g. spending time with your partner and
family instead of going for social gatherings after work?
3. Is it a personal decision that you are making un-coerced? Can you take full responsibility for making this
decision?
4. What are your personal goals and plans in life? How about your partner?
5. Do you share the same viewpoint on what’s most important to you?
6. Have you discussed your expectations and anxieties with your partner with full transparency and honesty?
7. Do you feel comfortable speaking to your partner about anything?
8. Do you have any doubts or reservations?

You may also, as a couple, attend pre-marriage sessions to learn what marriage entails. During these sessions,
couples are guided to reflect on thought-provoking questions that may not have been addressed during courtship.
You may also learn about conflict resolution styles etc. to help you gain insight into your future together. While pre-
marital sessions don’t rule out arguments later down the road, it certainly can help build a better foundation for
you to deal with challenges along the way.

The vital question “Am I ready?” is not an easy one to answer, but perhaps a more tangible question to ask is “Am
I willing to do what it takes to build a happy marriage?”

“A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy
their differences." - Dave Meurer

Do contact your work life coach if you’d like to speak to someone on issues related to marriage and relationships.

Please call our hotline or e-mail wlc@hdap.com if you face similar issues and need our assistance.

Human Dynamic

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Global Partner for People Effectiveness
The Manager’s Helpdesk
The Art of Negotiation
by Lina Lam – HDAP Managing Director – Northeast Asia

We negotiate all the time. Don’t just think of sales negotiations 3. Planning
with customers or sellers. We negotiate with bosses or Be well prepared for a negotiation. Successful negotiators are
subordinates about salary adjustments, we negotiate with rarely spontaneous. Think of what you want and determine what
family about vacation plans, we even negotiate with children really matters to you and what doesn’t. In addition, be flexible
about bed time, studies, and curfews. However, we seldom by providing considerations for other options/alternatives. Apart
reflect on the skills of negotiation which are so neglected yet from planning your strategy based on available information, you
vital in our day-to-day work and life. should also try to foresee possible reactions and anticipate
getting blind-sided during the negotiation process.
According to Wikipedia, negotiation is an interaction of 4. Listening and Asking
influences. Such interactions, for example, include the process Listening is one of the vital elements in the negotiation process.
of resolving disputes, agreeing upon courses of action, Very often, we think that we have to talk as much as or even
bargaining for individual or collective advantage, or crafting more than our counterpart in order to be convincing. Good
outcomes to satisfy various interests. Win-Win negotiations negotiation may not necessarily involve talking more; in fact, it is
are always favorable outcomes in which both parties are better to let others do most of the talking while we listen.
successful and satisfied in getting what they want. Listening includes actively hearing what others are saying and
appreciating their point of view, and clarifying (potential)
Good negotiating skills enable us to speak up for ourselves misunderstandings. Watching out for non-verbal signals (such
without damaging our relationships with others; they increase as body language) might clue us in on their concerns. Effective
personal effectiveness and decrease the chance that others listening and asking relevant open-ended questions is an
will take advantage of us. As managers, negotiation skills are effective way to open a topic for discussion and air options, as
it makes the counterpart believe that you have a common
of vital importance. How would you negotiate with your staff or ground on which to base your negotiations. Reinforcing positive
your team in order to ensure that objectives are met? How affirmations and being appreciative of others will increase the
would you more effectively resolve disputes with and amongst goodwill on both parties.
your team members?
5. Taking away emotional burden
While some people have the innate ability to negotiate well, In the process of negotiation, we may have to express alternate
the majority of us face some difficulty in putting our points views or even end up in direct confrontation. We may thus incur
politely yet effectively across. There may be several reasons an emotional burden which could hinder progress or even cause
for this. A common but oft neglected explanation is one’s lack the negotiations to grind to a complete halt.
of courage or assertiveness in taking on a negotiation. One’s 6. Making an enemy of your counterpart
confidence level can have a major impact on the ability to Rather than regard your counterpart as an enemy, treat him or
express or communicate effectively during the negotiation her as a worthy opponent that you need to overcome with sheer
process. The fear of negative outcomes and risky situations, force of persuasion. Realize that seeing your counterpart as an
or the experience of past negative results, may adversely enemy will only engender enmity, and defeat the purpose of the
influence future negotiations. negotiation.

The art of negotiation, therefore, takes into account 7. Fairness


developing practical skills as well as one’s confidence to There is nothing inherently bad with the process of negotiation –
support psychological processes in a negotiation process. it is in fact the healthiest way to interact peacefully in the aim of
achieving mutual benefits. Fair is a relative concept. We all have
Below are several points to take note of while developing our own values, and beliefs; what we may think is fair in a
personal negotiation skills. specific discussion may be totally unfair in another. Thus, if both
parties agree to a negotiated agreement, then that’s FAIR by
1. Assertiveness definition.
Assertiveness is an important trait for a negotiator – it helps us
take care of our own interests while maintaining a healthy 8. The fear of burning bridges
respect for others’ interests. Effective and proper negotiation is based very much on mutual
• Don’t be afraid to ask for what we want and be reasonably respect. As relationships are also based on mutual respect, you
persistent if we believe we deserve it. should not feel that your relationship with your counterpart will
• Practice “I” statements. Let others know how you feel in a be compromised unless the basis was not a very secure one to
non-threatening way, by saying, for instance “I don’t feel begin with. While it may prove impossible to simply ‘delete’
comfortable when you do that…” these feelings, what we should do is to be aware and
acknowledge these emotions. Only then can we effectively deal
• Learn how to say “No”. Understand personal boundaries with the complications of being a sparring party in a negotiated
and be firm about maintaining them. settlement.
2. Risk-taking Negotiation is a delicate balancing act between managing one’s
In the process of negotiation, it is inevitable that we have to own psychological state and emotion needs and the
take risks – it involves asking more than we think we can get, counterpart’s concerns. Cultivating a good combination of
or giving others more than we have planned in return. Think of qualities and skills will certainly improve one’s ability to
“how much risk am I comfortable taking?” If the outcome is effectively negotiate and increase the chances of a successful
not as I hoped, do I have any other options?” Get to know the outcome.
extent of the risk which you can accept, and determine the Copyright©2008 Human Dynamic Asia Pacific Limited.
All Rights Reserved.
point in which you need to “walk away”. Prepare yourself for
the necessary risks before entering a negotiation by planning This copy is intended for your reference and should not be circulated without the prior
knowledge of HDAP. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, by
ahead and basing your arguments on reliable information. photocopying or by any electronic or mechanical means including storage or retrieval
systems, without permission from HDAP.

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