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Published on May 1, 2020

15 Pieces of Best Marriage Advice All Couples Need

15 Pieces of Best Marriage Advice All Couples Need

Being in a successful relationship is the goal for most, if not all, couples. It would be marvelous to receive a manual with the best marriage advice on how to go about creating a strong and desired union.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You and your partner are left to navigate those often turbulent waters on your own. But I have good news for you!

In this article, I will provide you with 15 essential pieces of advice that, if implemented, will aid you in solidifying and strengthening even the rockiest of marriages.

Some of the advice may seem simplistic but don’t let the simplicity fool you. It is the simplicity that guarantees success.

So, let’s begin…

1. Do Small Things

If you want to have a slam-dunk kind of marriage, forget the big gestures (i.e., dinners at five-star restaurants, a diamond in the champagne glass, a trip to Bermuda, etc.).

No! As enticing as those may seem, they are short-term investments. If you want to have an incredible marriage, focus on the small, daily things. They may seem meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but those small gestures will create a trail of memories that will keep you warm in the coldest of nights.

What do I mean by small things?

It’s bringing your spouse something they need before they realize they need it. It’s pouring them a cup of coffee before you pour your own. It’s making the bed before they get out of the shower, or turning it down before they come to bed.

Those simple, seemingly insignificant things, are huge. They spell L O V E. They are an investment in your marriage. Don’t underestimate their importance.

2. Become Best Friends

Remember when you were in high school? You used to share everything with your best friend. If anything happened, good or bad, you’d call them to let them know. If there was anything on your mind, you’d pick up the phone and spend long hours talking.

Your spouse needs to become your best friend. Make them the person with whom you want to share your life. Then share it whether good, bad, or indifferent.

In her article, Being best friends with your spouse isn’t just a cliché—it could actually have some science-backed benefits, Sara Hendricks writes:[1]

“When investigating the role of friendship in marriage, researchers also found that the benefits of marriage are even greater when people thought they had a friend in their marriage.”

According to John F. Helliwell, an author on the study:[2]

“The well-being benefits of marriage are much greater for those who also regard their spouse as their best friend.” “These benefits are on average about twice as large for people whose spouse is also their best friend.”

3. Lend an Ear

One thing we all love is to have someone who will listen when we have a problem.

In her article, Sometimes Lending an Ear is the Best Gift, Jennifer Preyss, writes:[3]

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“They weren’t seeking a solution to their problem. No, what they were seeking was an emotional release. They wanted to share and vent.”

In order to comfort someone, it’s not necessary to solve their problem. Quite often the best thing to do is just to listen.

If you are a woman, you may want your husband to listen, not to necessarily solve anything. If you’re a man reading this, you might be saying, “But I must solve the problem for my sweetie.” I am sure that you think you do. But frequently, the best thing to do is lend an ear, nod your head, and say, “It’s going to be OK.”

We all just want to be heard.

Lending an ear will go a long way into making your marriage stronger. Your spouse will know they can come to you at any time and talk to their heart’s content. That, believe it or not, is a gift.

4. Write a Love Letter

You’re probably asking right now, “Write a love letter? What do you mean?”

I know, times have changed. You’re used to texting, emailing, or just picking up your phone. But I happen to feel that there’s nothing more romantic than receiving a love letter in the mail.

It may be old-fashioned, but it is truly romantic. No one who receives a love letter is going to say, “What the heck is this?” Nope. They are going to read it, savor the words, and save that letter forever.

For Valentine’s Day this year, my husband wrote me a love letter every day for 14 days, starting on February 1st, and left it in places he knew I’d find it. What a beautiful way to start my day. Better than a box of chocolates and a dozen roses. Because long after the chocolate and flowers are gone, the letters will still remain!

Don’t allow technology to rob you of writing out your feelings on a piece of rose-scented paper!

Allow me to share an example with you—a letter written by Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera. Tell me this does not give you goosebumps.

“Nothing compares to your hands, nothing like the green-gold of your eyes. My body is filled with you for days and days. You are the mirror of the night. The violent flash of lightning. The dampness of the earth. The hollow of your armpits is my shelter. My fingers touch your blood. All my joy is to feel life spring from your flower-fountain that mine keeps to fill all the paths of my nerves which are yours.”

Obviously, your letters don’t have to be on this level. This isn’t meant to deter you. It’s meant to inspire you.

Just write what you feel. That will be plenty good enough. Happy writing!

5. Forgo the Last Piece

One way to show love and create warm, loving feelings is to forgo the last piece.

Imagine there’s a chocolate chip cookie on the table—the last one. You know it’s your honey’s favorite. Do you eat it, or do you let them have it?

If you want to make your relationship great, let them have it. That gesture will not be forgotten. It shows how much you care and what sacrifices you are willing to make (especially if you want the cookie just as much as they do).

I know giving up the last piece of food seems bleh. But let me tell you, it speaks volumes. It says I love you in a deep and subtle way.

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6. Take Care of Yourself

When you first got married, you probably looked your best. Better than you ever have. But what happens over time?

You might become comfy, and stop really caring about how you look. Maybe you’ve put on some weight. Or maybe you don’t dress up anymore because you don’t think you have to.

But why not? You want to see your spouse looking their best, right? That means they want you to look your best. It’s only fair.

In his article, For a Strong Relationship, First Take Care of Yourself, Scott Christian writes:[4]

“There’s a lot to be said in a marriage, or in a committed relationship, for taking care of each other. But more often than not, relationships that run into stormy weather do so because the people in it aren’t taking care of themselves. This seems fairly straightforward, that living your life in total emotional disarray will inevitably drag down your partner, and yet it’s surprising how often couples forget it. Let yourself go, and the odds are pretty good your relationship is going to go too.”

So what are some ways in which you can take care of yourself?

You can eat well, exercise, and give up any deadly habits so you can be there for your partner in your later years when you’ll need each other the most.

Give each other the gift of you, in the best way possible.

7. Pay Compliments

When you first start dating, you may have complimented your partner often. Over time, you might start to take them for granted and think, “They already know how I feel. Why do I have to say it?”

Why? Because it feels good to hear it.

It’s a reminder to your partner that you think they’re tremendous, that you’re happy you’re with them. You can compliment your spouse on so many things: the delicious meal they cooked, the way they wear a certain outfit, how sweet they were for giving up the last piece for you (see #5 above); your appreciation for all they do to make your relationship special, etc.

I know for a fact you love to be complimented. Your spouse does too. If you haven’t been doing that, watch the surprised and delighted expression on their faces when you do.

Kim Leatherdale, in her article, The Power of Compliments in Your Relationship, writes:[5]

“Compliments are important to give to anyone, even a stranger; however, in a relationship they are doubly critical. Compliments show respect and are a fundamental building block of intimacy. Compliments show your partner that you appreciate them, see the awesome things they do, and recognize the good in them. This builds connection and helps your partner feel like they are seen, noticed, and loved.”

8. Lend a Helping Hand

From experience, I can tell you that you will feel really close to your spouse when you follow this little piece of advice.

Allow me to illustrate.

You’re in the middle of making the bed. Your honey shows up out of nowhere and starts helping. The job is done in half the time. No going back and forth around the bed. Or let’s say you’re doing the dishes and your spouse shows up, picks up a towel, starts drying and putting things away.

What a help! You would feel so appreciative. There are a million little things like this.

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Look for ways to help your spouse. It could be folding the laundry, housework, taking over parental duties (if applicable); doing a store run, etc. The list is endless.

How could you stay angry or feel bad about a partner that is always finding ways to help you?

9. Start and End the Day with a Kiss!

You might be wondering why this is important. It may seem like such a trivial act, but kissing is intimate; it’s endearing. And many couples don’t do it often enough, especially after they’ve been married for a while.

I’ve talked to many people who’ve told me they don’t ever kiss their spouses. It’s non-existent in their relationship. But there is much value in a kiss.

In 10 Reasons Why Kissing Is SO Important In A Relationship, the author, Lisa, writes:[6]

“The value of a kiss is so important because it shows passion, intimacy, desire and how much you adore a person. It can reduce stress and help with anxiety as well. It is very important in lovemaking and marriage. The passion and all the other stuff can get lost in your everyday life of work and kids when you are married. It is important to kiss and keep the spark alive in your relationship. It is important to show your partner how much they mean to you. A quick kiss before you go to work can go a long way and mean more than you know.”

Kissing can be playful, loving, and passionate. It’s a way to let your partner know everything is okay. It relays feelings without having to say a word.

Kissing doesn’t just have to be in the morning or before bedtime. If you want to spice things up, surprise your spouse with a lingering kiss. You’re going to knock them off their feet!

10. Take Walks Together

One of my favorite things to do is to take walks with my husband. It is a relaxing time in which we share our day, discuss important matters, or simply chit chat about what’s going on in the world.

There are multiple benefits to going on those long walks. Not only are you outside getting fresh air, but you’re also exercising as a couple and bonding just by talking with each other.

If you and your partner incorporate daily walks, your relationship is sure to grow stronger. It’s a wonderful way to connect, and one that is sure to bring you closer.

Working out together is also another great way to cement your relationship. According to the article, 10 Surprising Benefits of Working Out as a Couple, “couples exercising together strengthen both their bodies and relationship.”[7]

11. Be the Yin to Their Yang

You and your partner are not identical twins. If you don’t believe me, look in the mirror. In fact, you probably chose someone very different from yourself. That’s a good thing. You wouldn’t want to be married to you, would you?

In your differences, there are opportunities to expand and grow. Sharing your points of view with each other can be quite enlightening. You may not always agree, but being open will allow you to learn new ways of being.

For example, your husband may be very spontaneous, and you more on the conservative side. Each of you can benefit from each other’s distinct personalities. There will be times when being spontaneous is an asset, and there will be times when you’ll be glad you were conservative.

Instead of tearing you apart, differences can add another layer to your relationship and yourself.

12. Share Quiet Moments

While you might imagine that getting close to your partner means always doing something together, that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes all that is needed is to share some quiet moments together.

Sitting in the same room reading, listening to music, or just working on crafty projects side by side can be relaxing and fun. You don’t need to carry on a conversation, just sharing the same space is good enough.

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Look for ways to share that quietude. Enjoy each other’s presence by just being present.

13. Check in With Each Other Throughout the Day

This is an easy thing to do and very rewarding. Checking in with your spouse throughout the day lets them know that you are thinking of them.

They don’t have to be long conversations. A simple text with a heart emoji, or a, “Thinking of you!”; a call just to say, “How’re you doing?” is a substantial way to stay in touch.

Keep your spouse informed of when you’ll be home, and let them know you can’t wait to see them.

Even as I write this, it seems so simple, not even worth the bother. But on the contrary, it is a terrific way to let your spouse know they’re on your mind.

14. Forgive and Move On

In any relationship, someone will make a mistake. It’s inevitable. But this little piece of advice can save your relationship and allow you to move forward, and become stronger.

Forgive and move on.

Don’t hold mistakes over the person’s head like a guillotine. If they’ve genuinely apologized, accept it. If the mistake was a big one, like financial infidelity, or an affair, that will take more than an apology; perhaps additional work with an unbiased third party.

I’m talking about the small mistakes everyone makes (i.e., breaking a favorite personal item, not remembering your birthday or anniversary, forgetting to take out the trash on trash day, etc.). I’m referring to hurtful mistakes, not catastrophic ones.

Believe it or not, some people hang on to small slights forever. Don’t be that person. Talk about it, forgive the mistake, and move on. There’ll always be more mistakes, so don’t allow them to accumulate.

15. Compromise

This piece of advice is very important. A relationship involves two people.

Each with a different point of view. When one of you refuses to budge, it can cause hurt feelings and resentment. The art of compromise is especially valuable.

One, it shows that you’re open. Two, it shows that you love your partner and are willing to take a look at their needs. Three, your willingness to bend demonstrates that you can put your partner’s needs before yours.

What better way to strengthen your relationship? And isn’t that what you want?

Final Thoughts

Relationships can be challenging, but with the above 15 pieces of advice, you are making them less so.

You are presenting your partner with the best pieces of who you are, and in turn, making them feel loved and wanted.

You don’t need a Masters Degree to implement the above-mentioned simple techniques. All you need is the willingness to love yourself and your partner.

The rewards will be priceless; your relationship will be more enjoyable.

More Marriage Advice:

Featured photo credit: photo-nic.co.uk nic via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Rossana Snee

Rossana is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She aspires to motivate, to inspire, and to awaken your best self!

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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