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Marriage Is A Choice You Make Every Day, Not Only On The Wedding Day

Marriage Is A Choice You Make Every Day, Not Only On The Wedding Day

Most people are aware that marriage takes work– a lot of work. We know this. We’ve heard it over and over. We’ve seen the statistics on divorce and read countless articles telling us how hard marriage is.

And yet…somewhere along the way, we still become seduced by the fairy tale. I don’t know, maybe romantic comedies are to blame, or social media platforms that are littered with posts of drop dead gorgeous couples, frolicking, having fun and appearing to be engulfed in each other’s love. I admit–I am guilty of both. I love celebrating the love my husband and I share and I love seeing other couples who are madly in love. I love–love. But the truth is we only display five percent of our lives on social media. We hide the struggle, the grind and the fight that actually produces those glamorous photos and sustained our 20 year marriage.

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Marriage is a daily choice and not a one time event

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    One of the most popular misconceptions surrounding marriage is that once you make it through the wedding day–with all of it’s pomp and circumstance–say your “I do’s,” you ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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    In fact, most people spend more time, energy and resources planning their wedding day than they do planning the rest of their lives together. Marriage is a daily commitment. Every day you wake up you must consciously decide to commit to your spouse–for better or worse. Good, firm and solid marriages are not created through the images on Facebook and Instagram. They are forged in the mundane day-to-day dealings and through the difficult times. For every picture I have posted of us laughing, smiling and engaging in romantic nonsense there is a hidden moment of agony accompanied by tear stained cheeks, tousled hair and two people at their absolute worst trying to figure it all out. That is the plain, ugly reality of marriage.

    5 Ways to achieve the true fairy tale marriage and strengthen your relationship with your spouse

    So you’ve accepted the fact that your marriage is going to be work. Now what? Here are a few very simple and practical principles–that if applied consistently–will greatly increase the likelihood of a long and viable marriage.

    • Develop and cultivate a team mentality— You are a team. The team is bigger than it’s individual members. Understand that you will be called on to sacrifice for the good of the team. Sometimes you get to be the star and other times you don’t. Learn how to “take one for the team,” because when the team wins–all the players do too. Selfishness is the ultimate enemy of marriage and the underlying cause of the demise of so many.
    • Accept your spouse for who they are and work with what you got— Marriage is an “as is” transaction. Good, bad and everything in between your spouse is who they are and you married all of it. Trying to change your spouse is an exercise in futility and dishonoring to him or her. They are who they are. Cultivate the good and work through the bad. The true essence of marriage is learning to love your spouse–as is–unconditionally.
    • Treat your spouse better than you treat others— This principal rests on the border of doable and insanely impossible. It is one of the hardest principles to practice but one that yields the most rewards. When you have a conflict with a co-worker, you don’t jump in their face screaming obscenities and call them unsavory names (if you do, you have bigger issues–seek professional help). What most people do is plan what they are going to say and figure out how to best approach the situation. Your spouse deserves so much more respect, leniency, kindness and understanding than any other person (except– of course–your children) in your life.
    • Make a plan for attacking heavy issues and learn to pick your battles— Your spouse is going to get on your nerves. Their habits, moods and idiosyncrasies are going to rub you the wrong way at times. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should argue over these mild infractions. Learn to let things go. Everything need not be a fight. When dealing with larger issues that vastly impact the marriage, develop a strategy and attack the issue not your spouse. Remember you are a team and the problem is the opponent. Find the right time, place, tone of voice and choice of words to ensure that your message and intentions are clear. If tempers flare– take a break. Keep your focus on the issue at hand and never turn on your spouse. Mastering the art of communication is key when trying to conduct negotiations.
    • Forgive and let go–Marriage is one big exercise in forgiveness. If you can’t forgive and can carry a grudge forever– DO NOT get married. Admittedly, some infractions are harder to forgive than others and forgiveness does take time. However, you must actively work on moving toward forgiving your spouse. You have to surrender the right to punish your spouse and absolve them of their wrong doing. It is the only way to ensure your marriage keeps moving forward and It’s for the good of the team.

    At the end of the day, marriage is for grown folks. It takes maturity, determination, tenacity and unconditional love to create and sustain longevity. Making an intentional commitment every day is the secret to happily ever after.

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    Denise Hill

    Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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