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10 Things to Know Before You Say “I Do” to Lifetime Commitment

10 Things to Know Before You Say “I Do” to Lifetime Commitment

If you are considering the lifetime commitment of marriage, or if you are already engaged and have your special date set, you will want to know these 10 pieces of advice. Before my wife and I said “I Do” fifteen years ago, we ignored most of the advice experienced couples gave us. These 10 things will save you and your spouse a great deal of heartache if you will put them to work. Below are the 10 things married people want you to know before saying “I Do”:

1. Live Your Life as a Single Person, First

Face the facts, you need to enjoy your life while you are single. This is a time in your life when you should take time to travel, explore, find your place in the workforce, and work out your individual kinks. Know yourself before you try to know someone else.

2. Get Financially Sound

One of the worst things you could do to your future spouse is bringing a heavy load of debt into the marriage. Worse than this would be bringing bad financial habits into your marriage. There are tons of resources available with great information to help you grasp the importance of being financially sound. Don’t bring unnecessary burdens into your marriage.

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3. Realize People Change

This one is tough to understand until you have been there and it especially applies if you are saying “I Do” at a young age. People change because of life’s circumstances, events, and other influences. Just know, your spouse, even yourself, will change over time. The key to success in your marriage is knowing ahead of time you will need to be able to adapt to a changing spouse, and a changing you, over the years.

4. Get Your Priorities in Line

If you are accustomed to hanging out with the guys six nights a week or hanging out with the girls in clubs on the weekend, it is time to change your priorities. If you think you can put yourself in these positions after saying “I Do”, you are setting yourself up for a failed relationship. Understand this; I am not saying you can no longer have fun, but you must respect your spouse when you take your vows. You should communicate your priorities well before setting a date for the big day.

5. Communicate with Your (Future) Spouse

This is the life blood of your relationship. Over the past fifteen years, my wife and I have had our share of conflict, with the majority of conflicts being caused by the lack of communication or miscommunication. Be intentional and deliberate when communicating with your spouse. This could be as simple as calling your spouse to let him/her know you are going to be late for work, always give an estimated time of arrival.

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6. Respect Your Spouse

This should be in all bold, italicized, and all caps. Maybe you should consider having it tattooed across both arms and your chest. Respect in a relationship determines how severe, and how often, conflict will be in your relationship. Learn to respect yourself. When you can respect yourself, you can adequately respect your future spouse. Respect is simply this: Considering the feelings and needs of another over your own.

7. Never, Ever, Quit

Don’t go into your marriage thinking ahead of time, “If he/she does this, I am out”. You must be open to forgiveness from the start. Regardless. No, I am not suggesting you tolerate any type of physical, mental, or verbal abuse, but, beyond these issues, learn to forgive. After marrying my wife at the age of eighteen, I packed my stuff and threatened to leave multiple times the first year. Show commitment to your future spouse. Don’t threaten to leave. Don’t mention leaving. Be committed. Never quit.

8. Make Sure You Can’t Live Without Him/Her

Listen, if you date casually now and if you can go days without talking to him/her, you should reconsider your plans to marry. Marriage is a covenant between two people who are best friends, first. Best friends talk. They have conflicts, but they are fair about dealing with conflict. Think about this: If your spouse disappeared from your life today, how would you respond?

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Reality is none of us are promised tomorrow. I know, stop with the depressing talk. This is reality, and once all the parties and celebrations are over, reality hits you between the eyes like a baseball thrown at 95 MPH. If you two aren’t even friends now, maybe you should consider your decision: marriage is a commitment for life.

9. Be Prepared to Give 100%

You have heard the cute little saying, “marriage is 50/50”, right? Well, that’s crap. It is not 50/50, in fact, it is more like, you give all you have and your spouse gives all they have, plus some. Marriage will chew you up and spit you out if you go into it thinking you can get by with giving half an effort. It does not work that way.

10. Never Stop Dating

Do you remember the very first time you and your spouse, or future spouse, went on a date? Do you recall how your heart was beating out of your chest at some point during this date? Often times after the vows are exchanged, us men especially, tend to sit back on cruise control. Don’t do this! Celebrate her! Celebrate him!

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Pursue your lover like he/she is still considering spending their life with you. When you love, respect, and pursue your spouse, you will reap unending rewards. Yes, guys, sometimes this means sex. To men, be men. Your wife wants someone to lead the way. Lead her by loving her, respecting her, and never, ever, stop pursuing her.

Featured photo credit: NGDPhotoworks via pixabay.com

More by this author

J. A. Davis

Founder & Owner of Enlivify Total Solutions, LLC

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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