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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

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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