Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Marriage

Some people go through marriage blindly. Some go through couple counseling as part of their church’s requirements for matrimony. We took a completely different route. We… consulted a book.

Having read and loved Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I knew I would one day read his series on Effective Marriage and Effective Families when I’m ready to walk those milestones. With our wedding fast approaching (June 28!), Thanh and I went through the 7 habits:

1. Be Proactive: We cannot choose the events that occur, but we have the freedom to choose our response. In marriage, we cannot control our spouse’s thinking or actions, but our reactions to theirs are completely independent. Therefore, we do not blame our spouse for the feelings we have or how we interpret outcomes.

2. Begin with the End in Mind: Envision your marriage five years from now. Ten years from now. How should your children describe your marriage. Write a mission statement. Here’s our marriage mission statement:

We promise to nurture each other’s goals and ambitions; to support each other through misfortune and celebrate triumphs.

We promise to keep our lives exciting, adventurous, and full of passion.

We promise to persevere when times get tough, knowing that any challenges we might face, we will conquer them together.

3. Put First Things First: Don’t always act on urgent matters for they may be unimportant (i.e. interruptions). Assess activities and pursue those that align with your values first. Define your roles in life (i.e. student, wife, mother, CEO, etc.) and set three important goals under each role to fulfill on a weekly basis.

4. Think Win/Win: Seek mutual benefits. Your values matter and so do your spouse’s. When your interests or values don’t align, try a rating system. For example, if you want to go to the movies but your spouse prefers watching the games at home, ask each other to rate how sad you would be if you miss the activity. Then, yield to the person who would be more affected if the event would not occur.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: In other words, listen before you talk. Listen more than you talk. Listen with the intent to understand, not to reply.

6. Synergize: Don’t compromise. Don’t settle on a solution that would make one party unhappy. Seek a third alternative through synergism. It’s not your way. It’s not my way. It’s the better way.

7. Sharpen the Saw: Make sure you are healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Before we could help someone fulfill their dreams and aspirations, we must first be in a healthy position to meet our own.

We Say
The 7 habits for a successful marriage are rather common knowledge, as they should be. There is no real secret to having a blissful marriage. As with any other domains, success comes only after hard work and genuine effort. While we don’t view marriage as an uphill battle, we know not to expect rainbows and unicorns everyday. :)

Advertisements

A Happy Family

I once had someone told me they dislike me for my “perfect family”. We were too happy, which apparently was a flaw. So I told that person of the hardships my family went through, why we’re far from perfect, yet perfectly happy. And in many ways, we’re no different than the other happy families out there:


Bruce Feiler walks you through a business “formula” called agile programming that could be applied to families. Quite honestly, it sounds very much like Stephen Covey‘s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but simply re-packaged and given another name. Nonetheless, I find his talk applicable to the modern family’s struggles to function in a stressful and often chaotic world.

The 7 Habits, Simplified

In 2011, I hijacked my sister’s bookshelf and discovered Stephen Covey‘s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was sold by the end of the Foreword. I couldn’t put the book down. When I finished reading, I couldn’t stop talking about it. More importantly, I began applying the habits described. Each day I had a growing desire to share what I learned. But, I soon realized that those who truly need to exercise these habits are too lazy to read 300+ pages of a book or listen to a 25-minute podcast. So today, I lay out for you the 7 Habits in a short blog entry:

1. Be Proactive: We cannot choose the events that occur, but we have the freedom to choose our response. Proactivity goes beyond taking initiatives; it is taking responsibility for our own lives. Responsibility = response ability = the ability to choose your response. Highly effective people do not blame circumstances; they are proactive, not reactive.

2. Begin with the End in Mind: Envision the end of your life. Make that your reference point, your set of criteria, for which everything else is examined. Make sure your daily actions do not violate with what you value as supremely important. Never lose sight of what matters most to you. Write a mission statement. Here’s my take on it.

3. Put First Things First: Don’t always act on urgent matters for they may be unimportant (i.e. interruptions). Assess activities and pursue those that align with your values first. Define your roles in life (i.e. student, mother, CEO, etc.) and set three important goals under each role to fulfill on a weekly basis.

4. Think Win/Win: Seek mutual benefits in all human interactions. Cooperate. Don’t compete.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: In other words, listen before you talk. Listen more than you talk. Diagnose (confidently) before you prescribe. Listen with the intent to understand, not to reply.

6. Synergize: Don’t compromise. Don’t settle on a solution that would make one party unhappy. Seek a third alternative through synergism. It’s not your way. It’s not my way. It’s the better way.

7. Sharpen the Saw: Make sure you are healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Exercise (perhaps with Power 90 or Insanity?). Read. Write. Study. Volunteer. Meditate.

We Say
Make every day count. You can lead the productive and successful life that you desire. Just follow these 7 habits to a healthier and more effective lifestyle!