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10 Brutally Honest Things Everyone Should Know Before Getting Married

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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.

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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

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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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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