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10 Brutally Honest Things Everyone Should Know Before Getting Married

10 Brutally Honest Things Everyone Should Know Before Getting Married

Marriage is a wonderful thing and everyone knows a real marriage needs work, compassion and compromise to be successful. However, with divorce rates at a record high, how much do we really know when entering into married life?

Without fully knowing what married life entails and the reality that we are faced with once the wedding is over and life carries on, we are often left to face any difficulties without the full knowledge of how marriage affects us and can lead to self-blame and ultimately the break up of the marriage if things don’t quite go according to how we envisioned them to be.

If you’ve just entered into married life or you are just about to, here are 10 honest secrets about marriage that you should know.

1. That First Flush of Love Won’t Always Last

A pretty obvious one that you may have heard countless times. But how many people give up on marriage because they feel the spark has disappeared? It’s often hard to imagine that love you feel for someone will ever go away but sometimes you have to fall out of love to find out what the real meaning of love is which isn’t necessarily infatuation and a Hollywood happily ever after.

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Be prepared to reach a stage that feels a lot different to the beginning and know that it doesn’t mean your marriage has failed.

2. Love Grows In Different Ways

With that in mind, we need to understand that love grows in different ways and can come in many forms. You don’t need to be infatuated with someone to be in love with them or have a successful marriage.

Real love takes time and effort and needs a lot of cultivation to allow it to flourish. People often believe they are either in love or they’re not, dismissing any of the stages in-between. Let the marriage take its own course and don’t over-analyse bad patches or wonder whether you love your partner enough when things may start to change.

3. The Attraction Won’t Always Be There

Make peace with the fact that you may not always be attracted to your partner. Physical attraction is important in our image-conscious society and often if we don’t find someone attractive then it can’t work out. In a marriage this can bring phases of doubt about whether this means we don’t love them anymore.

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Attraction levels can change in long or even short periods of time so don’t panic and question your relationship whenever this comes up.

4. You’ll Need To Show Love Even When You Don’t Want To

Things aren’t always going to go smoothly – that we all expect. However, it’s easy to revert to almost childish ways when our partner is perceived as being difficult or hurtful in some way. When we’re in those sorts of situations, our feelings of love can wane and we are reluctant to show it but for a marriage to survive long-term we need to swallow our pride and still show acts of love even when we don’t want to. So make them that cup of tea after an argument or still do the errand they asked you to do.

Small acts of pettiness can cause all sorts of resentments both with yourself and the other person which only etches away at your unit. Always remember you’re a team.

5. Married Life Is A Journey

Once you’re married you may feel like you’ve achieved the ultimate goal but marriage is challenging and there to help you grow and flourish, not just as two people but for yourself.

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There will be tough times that will be designed to trigger every negative and positive emotion you have within you but those emotions are there to build you up, not knock you down. Done right, you can reap the rewards marriage has to offer and can teach you countless ways to grow as a person.

There may be times when you take every ounce of you not to walk out of the door and give up. But there’s so much we can learn from going right to the edge and bringing ourselves back.

6. Just Because A Marriage Needs Work Doesn’t Mean It’s Doomed

If you grew up with parents who had a loving marriage then you are more likely to carry those expectations into your own marriage but be prepared that not all marriages are the same. If you compare your marriage to others it will only cause stress and disappointment if yours doesn’t match up – but this doesn’t mean your marriage is any less or is failing.

More often than not, other people’s marriages may look perfect from the outside but very rarely are. Try to keep this in mind when it comes a time that you feel your marriage needs work.

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7. Having Children Will Cause Stress On The Marriage

We all know having children is a wonderful yet difficult period in a marriage. It will put a strain on even the best of marriages so it’s important to expect this and act accordingly. Make sure you nurture and find time for the marriage outside of having children to remind yourself why marriage was important to you in the first place. Ignoring the marriage is very easy to do when a child is taking up your time and effort so counteract this by making extra effort to spend time together.

8. Physical Love Needs To Be About Connection For It To Last

It’s really important to remember that your sex life is a vital way to show love and appreciation to one another. It’s about learning to give and receive in a loving and connected way and not a way to gain power, security or validation. If connection is the core basis, then sex is less likely to wane throughout the marriage but it’s also something that will change over time and that’s okay. Remember to be honest and open about anything.

9. Successful Married Life Can’t Survive Without Communication

True and honest communication is key to a successful marriage. Secrets and pent-up emotions will only cause destruction in the end. Learning how to put your feelings and emotions to your partner in a constructive and non-blaming way will not only unburden you and make you happier but will eliminate stresses in the marriage and keep it open and honest. This doesn’t always come easy and naturally so be prepared to work on it which may mean doing some work on yourself.

10. Never Believe Marriage Will Make You Happy

The most important point is our belief that being married will somehow complete us. We can put a lot of pressure on married life being the key to our happiness when it should only be looked at as an added bonus to our own already-established happiness. Nothing outside of us can make us happy, it has to come from within.

Marriage can become problematic when we get married and realise it hasn’t made us any happier in the long run and can often lead to marriages being a disappointment and eventually break up. Make sure you are truly happy and release the pressure put on marriage to bring happiness to you.

Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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