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Eight Ways to Improve Your Marriage Before it Begins

Eight Ways to Improve Your Marriage Before it Begins

I was over at my brother’s house a few days ago. While doing all the things that brothers do (drinking beer, reminiscing about growing up, and goofing around) we got to talking about our current lives. He and I both got married within the last five years and honestly, both of our wives are everything that we could ask for:

  • kind
  • smart
  • caring
  • loving

I’ve often been told that hindsight is 20/20. Believing that, I wondered what life would be like if I had known how to answer all the questions that I have had to answer while being married:

  1. Does this look good on me?
  2. What have you planned for date night?
  3. Are you even listening to me?
  4. What did I just say?

In talking to other men, I realize that I am not alone in wishing I had known the answers to these ahead of time. Saying that, here are eight pieces of advice that will make your life easier.

Learning to recognize the signs

Just because you haven’t been verbally told something doesn’t mean that it isn’t an issue. To avoid upsetting your partner, you must learn to read them. It sounds simple in theory, but I assure you it is more difficult than reading a Sanskrit document. Pay attention to everything. This includes, but is not limited to:

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  • an eyebrow raise
  • tonal switch in the voice
  • sighs
  • arms crossing

Your success hinges on your ability to read your spouse.

A good love story

Yes, the “chick-flick”. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you will have to endure one or two of these in your lifetime. My advice is to either learn to become very good at hiding the fact you are sleeping or, pay just enough attention that you can answer the pop quiz at the end of the movie.

The t-shirt

There is a good chance that your favorite t-shirt will also become their favorite t-shirt. Accept this and understand that there is no point in asking where it is. Instead, teach yourself to become automatic enough to walk over to the laundry basket and pull it out. Don’t bother checking it with the smell test either. It will usually lead to a series of questions that you don’t want.

Dog farts

Don’t laugh. On occasion, the dog did it might actually be the truth. In fact, in my experience I know that my two are proud when they do, but that’s not the point. Know that when it wasn’t the dog, how you bring it up directly reflects how the rest of the night will go. You must decide how often to bring it up and under what circumstance you do. Fyi: the answer is “as close to zero as you can make it”.

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Your job

I shovel the snow. Period. Do I enjoy it? Doesn’t matter.

Relationships and marriage are built on sacrifice. It could come in the form of freezing in the middle of winter, or not watching your team play on Sunday. If you want your marriage to last, learn to make sacrifices.

Confirming the grocery list

Whenever you go to the grocery store, do not forget your phone. Without fail, you will have to make a phone call that goes something like this, “Which brand of ______ do you want me to pick up?”

Take notes and don’t forget what she’s said. It only makes it worse if you have to call back or bring home the wrong item.

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How/when to pick your battles

Before engaging in any sort of battle, ask yourself, “Is this really worth it? What benefit will come to me because of it? What will I be giving up later down the road if I fight back?” Contrary to what you may believe, you can’t always win. You must learn to either:

  • Humbly accept defeat.
  • Create an outstanding reason that you are correct.

My suggestion would be to go with the hidden third option. Learn to compromise as much as you can.

Chocolates and flowers

According to Gary Chapman, each of us has a love language. It is:

  • receiving gifts
  • quality time
  • words of affirmation
  • acts of service
  • physical touch

While it sounds a little too corny to be true, I can promise you that it is in your best interest to figure out which one your spouse is. It will make things a lot easier for both of you.

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In closing

This list isn’t foolproof. In actuality, it is only a brief guideline for the challenges that lie ahead of you. However, while marriage is hard work, its rewards are worth every moment.

The only other piece of advice that I can give you is to make sure you take some time to let her know that you appreciate her.

Featured photo credit: www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Joel a Scott

Writer/Blogger

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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