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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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