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8 Similes Summing Up What Marriage Is Actually Like

8 Similes Summing Up What Marriage Is Actually Like

At one point in our lives, we thought marriage was the happy ending. We all watched the movies, read the books and believed that once we found out one true love, that was it. Eventually we realized that we are living real life and there isn’t a storybook ending that solves all your problems. Marriage is just the beginning of two people’s lives together.

1. “Marriage is like fine wine, if tended to properly, it gets better with age.”

Plain and simple, you can have a good marriage but it will take time and effort to make it better with age. Either the two of you can grow together and stronger as a couple or further apart. Just look at the process of how wine is made. It is quite a bit of effort to even get it to the form that flows freely from the bottle into your cup of happiness, and a little more patience and time to get fine wine.

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2. “A marriage is like a house. When a light bulb burns out, you don’t just go and buy another house. You change the light bulb”

You all know someone like this, don’t lie. They have had twenty seven marriages and sign prenups like they sign a receipt for a purchase over twenty five dollars. Some people really don’t understand the sanctity of marriage. It is something that you two are promising to each other for an eternity. Sure, not everyone is good for each other but that doesn’t mean you have to just leave the first sign of trouble. Figure out which type of light bulb needs to be replaced (or which problem needs to be fixed) and take time to search for the solution to make that part of the house light up again.

3. “Marriage is like music. Both are playing different instruments and different parts, but as long as you’re playing from the same sheet music, you can create something beautiful.”

Everyone is different and unique in their own way. That is what is so beautiful about marriage, you both can bring so much to the table and use it. As a couple, you learn each other’s hobby (and if you’re competitive, you get good at it), see solutions to problems from a different view, and learn that though you two are individuals, your hearts and minds are in sync… most of the time.

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4. “Marriage without friendship is like a bird without wings.”

When you are married, your spouse is your best friend. It may sound cliche to say, and I know it’s very cheesy, but it is completely true. In order to have a marriage work, you need to trust them with your life. That means your secrets, your heartaches, your anxiety and your joy. Your spouse is the first person you call when you need to share some good news, when you need a shoulder to cry on, and a person that will make food runs with you at three in the morning just for fun (although that last option may change with age).

5. “Being married is like having a best friend that doesn’t remember anything you say.”

In addition to the friendship thing, you will have someone that you can tell your stories to over and over again because most likely, they forget some details, or are pretending to. You have done it before, be honest. You have all have responded, “Oh no, you didn’t tell me that story,” because you know your spouse loves telling it.

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6. “Marriage is like a garden, it takes time to grow but the harvest is rich unto those who patiently and tenderly care for the ground.”

This plays again into putting work into it. You need to have adventures together and put effort into creating the story of your lives together. What else are you going to be talking about on your front porch drinking iced tea when you’re old? As a married couple, vacations, last minute weekend trips, or simply getting lost is what builds your vault of stories and lessons for you to pass down.

7. “Marriage without struggle is like an unfired clay pot. It is easily made, but it will not stand the test of time.”

Every marriage is going to have their bumps and dead ends. You both need to find out how to turn yourselves back around and keep going. The problems that come with marriage are there to make sure you two are able to work together as a couple through it so when you eventually do decide to create little minions, you have something to let them know you have been through it. Don’t think they won’t be calling you either. Everyone calls their parents for help, no matter what age.

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8. “Marriage is like a game of chess, except the board is flowing water, the pieces are made of smoke and no move you make will have any effect on the outcome.”

With all that being said, no matter how many tips and tricks you are given to make your marriage work, it really is different for every couple. There is not a set of rules or a right way of creating the perfect marriage because it doesn’t exist. Tips for you may not work like they did for your mom. The best you can do is just take in the knowledge and keep it in your vault. Live your lives together, take the punches as they come, and stop to enjoy the sunshine.

Featured photo credit: Bride and Groom with pink pastel bouquet/ Faith via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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