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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

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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