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12 Invaluable Lessons Married People Want The Unmarried To Know

12 Invaluable Lessons Married People Want The Unmarried To Know

During my wedding shower, my brides-maids set up an advice jar for me to keep handy after my fiance and I were married. There were tons of pieces of advice, some were funny (like always keep beer in the fridge) and some were more serious, given in the hopes of helping our marriage survive. Now that I’m married, I find myself sharing these same words, and my own lessons that I’ve learned, with friends and family who are engaged, hoping to help share advice that can help their marriages be strong. In a world where divorce is unfortunately all too common, advice from people who are married is never anything to roll your eyes about, it could just help save a marriage.

So here are 12 things married people want the world to know:

1. Never stop dating your spouse

A few months after my husband and I married, I surprised him by sending flirty and funny texts, and asked him out on a date. We spent the whole night pretending to be on our first date and at the end it made us feel rejuvenated and more connected. This lessons is as old as time but it’s always completely true. Once you stop dating your spouse, some of the magic fades away. Keep taking each other on dates, either planned or spontaneous, and it will help keep the romance alive!

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2. Some fights aren’t worth it

It drives me crazy when his shavings are left on the bathroom sink. I used to get on his case about it constantly until I realized, it took more time and energy to fight with him about it, than it did for me to take a tissue and wipe it up quickly. Sometimes you are going to feel completely annoyed at something your spouse said or did and you’re going to want to explode. But before you do, think about if it’s worth the fight. Sometimes, it is better for both of you to take a deep breath and consider if the silly annoyance is really worth the fight.

3. But if you don’t talk at all the problem will never go away

My husband can tend to be a workaholic, and it can really create some tensions between us when I’m expecting him home or when his work interrupts our weekends. In a marriage, there will be silly problems that aren’t worth the fight, but there will also be problems that need to be talked out. When I voiced my concerns about work coming in-between us, my husband was willing to work with me in setting up some work boundaries – such as no calls during dinner. But if we hadn’t communicated, then the problem would have persisted until it became too big for us to handle.

4. Take turns doing chores

Because I’m the better cook, I used to do all the cooking. And because I can’t stand picking up dog poop (iew) my husband always used to be in charge of that. We thought it made sense to split up the household work that way. But what it actually did was cause us to get frustrated with each other, secretly wondering why we had to keep doing the same thing all the time and our spouse wasn’t helping. I still mostly do the cooking and he mostly pick up after the dogs, but we’re more willing to take turns, and share the marriage responsibilities so that neither of us becomes frustrated with the tasks.

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5. Use please and thank you

One time, after we were married, I asked my husband to do something quickly. I thought I said please, he insisted he didn’t hear my say it, so he felt as though I was commanding him to do something while I thought I was asking. We don’t know who was actually right, but his frustration turned into a fight and we realized how important it is, especially after you are married to continue to use manners with each other. You never want to make your spouse feel as though they are being taken for granted or unappreciated. Using manners ensures that they know you are thankful for what they do for you.

6. There is no greater feeling than sharing a bed with your spouse

One of my absolute favorite moments of the day is that moment when I wake up before the craziness of the day begins, I lie in bed and think of how lucky I am to be married to such a wonderful man. Starting your day and finishing your day with your favorite person is a luxury in life that is not to be taken for granted. Unfortunately, you never truly know how long you have on this earth together, so savor the realization that every day begins and ends with the one you love.

7. Sometimes you don’t like your spouse

Once when I was watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, character Marie Barone gave some of the best marriage advice I’ve ever heard, and I’ve believed it fully ever since she said it. “There’s going to be hate. Hate is real. Marriage is real. We might fight, but…we’re okay with each other. And do you know why? We’ve endured.” Married life is real, every emotion you feel is real. You’ll love each other more than you could ever know is possible, and you’ll hate each other sometimes too. But you work through all the positives and negatives together and together, through all of the emotions, you will endure.

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8. Continue to make yourself attractive

I had to have surgery a few short months before my wedding, and unfortunately again less than a year after I was married. In the meantime, working out was very difficult and I was able to do very little. As a previous dancer, working out is very important to me and keeping my body toned made me feel healthy and attractive. Losing that ability took a very large toll on how I viewed myself and how I thought my husband viewed me as well. I worried about him finding someone else who was more attractive. I learned that “letting myself go” just because I’m married simply isn’t an option. Working out and dolling myself up once in a while gives me more confidence and I feel sexy. While my husband has always found me attractive, confidence IS sexy and my husband sees that in me too.

9. Keep the intimacy alive

I’ve found that it is natural, after time, to have those burning fires of love cool. What used to be a “Netflix and chill” kind of night slowly turns into actually watching Netflix and eating ice cream. While this is a beautiful part of being married, it can also be a little dangerous. You need to make sure that those fires of love keep burning by stealing kisses, lighting candles, and making an effort to turn off the Netflix and head to the bedroom! If the intimacy falls away, either one of you may be tempted to go find it somewhere else.

10. Let them do their own thing

I love spending as much time as I can with my husband. Weekends are the best days for my because I get a whole two days of quality husband time, even if it is just running errands. But you need to make room for your spouse to do their own thing and for you to do yours. As much as I love spending time with my husband, I also enjoy reading and writing and love taking time for myself to do that. He loves playing his guitar and watching Sunday football, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him. He needs his space just like I need mine. Just because we are married doesn’t mean we have to have all the same hobbies or likes. Give each other space to be who you are and it will make everything more interesting!

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11. Don’t forget why you married them

Every day when I’m talking to my husband, I’m reminded of what a great person and husband he is and I smile as I think about all the amazing reasons why I married him. I do this especially on my hardest days. In the hustle and bustle of life, spouses sometimes forget why they married each other in the first place. Don’t! It’s so important when things get crazy, to keep in mind all of the great qualities you married your spouse for. If you keep these things in mind, you can keep your relationship strong with the knowledge of all the things you love about your spouse.

12. Your spouse will be your everything

As soon as my engagement ring was placed on my finger, I knew that not only did our relationship status change, but his place in my life had changed. I knew he’d be my best friend, my number one cheerleader, my adviser, and my business partner. In every aspect of my life he was going to be there to be my partner and help me make major life decisions. Your spouse isn’t just your spouse, they become your everything.

Being married comes with many lessons of life and relationships. No matter how long you’re married, you continue learning. There will be mistakes, celebrations, hard times, and pure joy. But being married isn’t an ending where you live happily ever after, it’s a never ending journey that you take together.

Featured photo credit: mariadelajuana via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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