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What Most People Don’t Know Before Getting Married

What Most People Don’t Know Before Getting Married

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the past decade.

Marriage is not two people giving 50/50

Marriage is about two people each giving 100%. When you start keeping track of “all the things you do all the time” and expecting tasks to be 50/50, you can easily start resenting your spouse. Focusing on what your spouse doesn’t contribute to the marriage and how your spouse isn’t being fair can increase your discontentment. Rather than continually keeping tabs of who last emptied the trash can, it can be helpful to focus on making your spouse feel special. Whether it’s a sweet note posted on the bathroom mirror, a little gift “just because,” or a unique surprise date you plan at a thoughtful location, putting in 100% effort in the marriage can strengthen your marriage.

Traumatic events, illnesses, and grief have the potential to bring you closer together or drive you very far apart

Very difficult things can happen in life, and some couples seem to be slammed with one heartache after another. Everyone deals with stress and grief differently. As you endure extreme hardships together, do your best to keep communication open with your spouse. If you’re feeling all out of sorts, explain why to your spouse. Remember that you are two unique individuals, and when stressful events happen, you may process them very differently.

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Our marriage has endured some devastating events, and we haven’t always been the best at sticking together through the hard times. As your marriage weathers the storms, make sure to furiously protect it. At times it may feel like everything in the world is threatening to tear you apart.

Years into the marriage, you’ll still have days you wonder what planet your spouse came from

My husband and I have been married for years, and there are still days I feel like I don’t understand him at all. I don’t even know what else to say about this.

People show love in completely different ways

One of the best books my husband and I have read is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. After decades as a marriage counselor, Chapman became convinced that there are five basic ways to express love emotionally, which he calls the five basic love languages. According to Chapman, each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak in order for the person to feel loved. The five love languages are: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service.

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The Five Love Languages book has changed my marriage immensely, and has helped me understand how to show love to my spouse. I’m very much a Quality Time person. My husband, on the other hand, needs Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service to feel loved. Knowing these differences between us has been eye-opening and has helped strengthen our marriage.

It’s not all unicorns and rainbows

Dating is fun. Everything is new and exciting, and you both put effort into how you look and how you act. Then you get married and you realize you married a human. Who poops. And drools. You won’t be enticed by this person every day. In fact, you’ll be completely grossed out at times.

When you get lost in the daily grind of life, it’s easy to fall into the habit of giving each other the “leftovers” of yourselves, and having your spouse see only your worst sides – when you are physically and emotionally spent. It’s wise to continue to invest in each other after marriage. Invest time and energy into your relationship. Put in effort to make each other feel special. Make sure your spouse gets more from you than venting about your day. Even though not every day is unicorns and rainbows, make a point to regularly share the best parts of yourself with your spouse.

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Laughter fixes many problems

Having a good sense of humor can significantly help your marriage. When you can laugh together, it makes the good times even better, and the rough times a little less difficult.

Giving each other space to spend time with friends and pursue individual goals can greatly enhance your happiness

Many people lose sight of who they are as individuals once they become married. However, I believe it’s very healthy to continue to have interests outside of your spouse. Whether it’s a professional or personal goal, or a hobby you love, nurturing other areas of your life aside from your relationship can help you feel more fulfilled in life. Your spouse won’t (and shouldn’t be expected to) fulfill all your needs. Taking time to connect with friends is also very important.

Your love may grow stronger with each passing year

Marriage isn’t easy, and at times can be incredibly difficult. However, it can also be awesome. Best wishes to you for a long, healthy, happy marriage.

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Featured photo credit: Joe Hunt/Here comes the bride…(and groom) via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on October 17, 2019

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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1. Recognize the Signs

If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

Some telltale signs include:

  • You’re always on your phones.
  • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
  • You aren’t together during important events.
  • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
  • You don’t make plans or date nights.
  • You’re not happy.

If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

2. Try New Things Together

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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5. Cook Meals Together

Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

6. Have a Regular Date Night

Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

  • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
  • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
  • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
  • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
  • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
  • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
  • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

Final Thoughts

The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

  • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
  • Lowers divorce rates
  • Improves communication
  • Reduces marital boredom
  • Bonds couples closer
  • Improves friendship
  • Boosts health
  • Reduces stress

These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

Reference

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