With the long-awaited wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton only two weeks away, you may find yourself thinking back to your own wedding – or thinking forward to the wedding you hope to have one day. A wedding is (usually!) a blissfully happy event for the bride and groom, and there are rarely thoughts of dealing with future problems, crises, and the myriad issues which inevitably crop up during the course of a marriage. But sooner or later you will have to deal with a problem, and learning crucial assertiveness skills - and being aware of your rights as a person - can help you tackle problems effectively – while still taking your spouse's feelings and rights into account.
What Are My Rights?
As an adult, you have the right to:
Decide how to lead your life.
Your own need for personal space and time.
Have your needs and wants respected by others.
Ask for what you want.
Be treated with dignity and respect
Your own values, beliefs, opinions and emotions.
Be angry with someone you love.
Not be responsible for others' behaviour, actions, feelings, or problems.
Say no/I don't know/I don't understand, or even, I don't care, without feeling guilty.
Ask for information or help.
Change your mind, make mistakes, and sometimes act illogically.
Many people are worried about asserting their rights in their marriage because they don't want to start an argument, but first ask yourself, "what's the worst that could happen if I bring this up?" The answer is usually, "not that much."
How Can Being Assertive Help My Marriage?
There are several reasons why assertiveness is so important in a marriage. Firstly, it lets your spouse know what you want, instead of expecting them to mind-read! Being assertive also shows your spouse that you have confidence in yourself, which is a very attractive quality. Thirdly, assertiveness means you make yourself heard in a respectful way. Being hurtful, rude, or conniving will have a negative effect on your marriage - even if it does result in you getting your way for the moment.
Remember, though, that no matter how assertive you are, you may not get every need or want met by your spouse. Some needs and wants are simply not your spouse's responsibility. Find other ways to make yourself happy through getting involved with your community, or developing a hobby.
Look out for future newsletters in my series on Assertiveness, in which I will offer suggestions on how to say no, how to make a simple, assertive request, as well as other vital life skills to help you live a happier, more productive life.
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