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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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