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What It’s Really Like When You’re Married

What It’s Really Like When You’re Married

Before you got married, you had some idea of what you life would be like as a couple living in matrimonial bliss. What you did not realize, however, was the little daily quirks and not-so-enjoyable habits that you would have to witness as you joined your lives together.

Here are some of the realities of marriage that no one told you about before you got hitched.

1. You have different ideas on how to load the dishwasher

You might think that the way that you do chores is the way everyone else does them, but if so, you are sorely mistaken. Your significant other probably has a different approach to how to load the dishwasher or do laundry.

Remember, because there are cups on the bottom rack or a few dark pieces of clothing with the light, it does not mean that World War III should break out.

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2. You realize the very real clean wars

Remember the saying ‘opposites attract’? This is not always true, especially in marriage. If you thought living with a slob would not be a big deal, while you tend to be a bit OCD, it’s definitely not as simple as it may seem.

Usually the cleaner person ends up being the bad guy, mostly because they are always cleaning or nagging their messier partner to clean up after themselves.

3. You gain twice the stuff

Ever dreamed of getting free stuff? One of the side effects of marriage is that you will be doubling your possessions now. Do not be concerned if your house starts to look like something that you could be a qualifier for the TV show ‘Hoarders’.

4. You never win TV remote battles

Television watching is a whole other ballgame. You might be roped into viewing shows you might never wish on your worse enemy. It seems like whoever gets to the remote first gets to choose, and unfortunately, it is rarely you.

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5. You realize how to read between the lines

Beware of the notorious passive response that tends to be popular with married folk. Answers like “I don’t care what we eat tonight” or “I don’t want anything for our anniversary” are sometimes (not always though) responses that are actually more loaded than they first appear.

They can often be translated to “I will eat anything but Italian or Chinese food” and “I would actually love this new tablet, but I don’t want to seem greedy.”

6. You are always awoken by frozen feet

You know the expression “cold feet” quite literally, when your spouse puts their freezing feet on your warm body. There is nothing that will wake you up faster than this jolt of ice under the covers.

All too often, you have to kindly – and sometimes not so kindly – remind your spouse that you are not a heater.

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7. You have to attend twice the family reunions

Growing up, you always dreaded the annual family reunion and now that you are married you cannot escape your spouse’s either. There are times when you feel like you would rather empty the dishwasher for the whole entire year, than face a force family get-together.

The thing things you do for love, right?

8. You have very different taste in music

You love country, while your spouse loves bluegrass. This is not a problem usually, except when you are in the car together and you want to listen to some communal tunes.

You are learning the art of compromising quite well.

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9. You have an obligation to give up the last cookie

It is an unspoken rule in marriage that you always ask your spouse if they want to have the last cookie, slice of cake, piece of pizza. And  yes, that is even if you know they will say yes 100% of the time.

10. You have to endure your fair share of bodily functions

Once you are married, you seem to feel quite relaxed around each other, which can lead to frequent passing of air out both ends. After all, you did say for better or worse during your wedding vows, right?

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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