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12 Invaluable Lessons Married People Want The Unmarried To Know

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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.

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Featured photo credit: mariadelajuana via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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