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10 Things About Marriage You Wish You’d Known As a Newlywed

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10 Things About Marriage You Wish You’d Known As a Newlywed

Too many people go into a marriage thinking that it’s going to be great fun and not much different that any old long-term relationship. Living together with another person, who is both a lover and friend, has its ups and downs, and it is certainly a whole lot different than regular dating. Experience comes with time and plenty of couples eventually learn to live in relative harmony with each other, but it always helps to get a basic understanding of what you are getting into beforehand. With a few years of dating, five years of marriage under my belt and a beautiful daughter to show for it, I have learned a few things about marriage that people don’t tell you when you are young. Here is a list of ten things I wish I knew as a newlywed, as they would have saved me plenty of time and nerves.

1. Living with a partner can be much more difficult than you think.

Moving in together

    In the beginning, i.e. your first year or so together, it can all seem like sunshine and rainbows between the two of you. Your relationship is still fresh, you are slowly learning about each other, you have sex all the time and you spend some time away from one another regularly, so every time you see each other, there is plenty to talk about. However, once you start spending all or most of your free time with someone and living under the same roof, you suddenly become a strange mixture of friends, family and roommates.

    The thing is, you are both used to a certain lifestyle and like things to be a certain way, which can cause a bit of a problem if you aren’t able to back down. My wife and I had plenty of arguments about choosing the right color for the walls or arranging furniture, and there will always be debates about leaving the toilet seat up, throwing towels on the floor, not doing the dishes after a meal, etc. Just know that these things are a part of being married and that both of you will need to change a few things about yourself, which takes a bit of work.

    2. You’ll need to learn to handle constant meddling and tips from your family.

    Everyone will want to give you some advice, whether they have been there and done that and know some things about marriage or have just heard of a study on TV or read something online. Your single friends will get on your nerves from time to time with gems of wisdom on married life, and although you’ll know they just want to help, it won’t make things any less frustrating. When it comes to meddling and unsolicited advice, the worst offenders are the in-laws. We all know how difficult our parents can get, particularly if you come from a cultural background where families like to stick together and everyone abides by the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality.

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    Now imagine having to deal with two sets of parents who don’t seem to realize that you are grown adults and insist on giving you advice on everything from basic things like doing your laundry and choosing furniture, to important issues related to planning your future. The way my wife and I deal with such meddling, apart from occasionally reverting to sarcasm or losing our temper, is to acknowledge their input and agree to consider their suggestion as a valid option. Shutting off your brain, nodding politely and letting them finish their tirade, followed by a quick change of subject is also a great strategy.

    3. The question about having a baby will be brought up by others frequently.

    This ties into the last paragraph, but is a big enough issue that it deserves its own place on this list. Not a month will go by after you’ve exchanged your vows and people will already start to give you the old “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” routine, asking if their might be a third family member on its way any time soon. Comments can be simple, like when our friends commented on us buying a house: “A beautiful home—spacious too. Plenty of room for one or two more (nudging and winking go without saying),” or even serious and somewhat worried inquires like when my parents asked us when we were planning to have our first kid.

    This kind of behavior is understandable—after all, your folks are getting older and want to have a chance to play with their grand kids while they still have plenty of life energy left—but it is incredibly infuriating. You will feel like you are being pressured, like it is expected of you, but ultimately, it is your decision whether you want to have kids now, later or ever for that matter. Take your time, get settled in and when the right time comes, the two of you will come to a mutual decision.

    4. Married sex often lacks spontaneity and you’ll need to work at keeping the passion alive.

    All the movie clichés and standup comedy routines aside, married sex becomes less spontaneous and more predictable over time. It can be both one of the best and one of the worst things about marriage—you fall into a routine and because you know each other so well you start approaching the subject casually. Young couple sex comes straight out of the bloom, gets hot and heavy quickly, with very few words spoken or can be a long and delightful game of teasing leading into a big finale. Married sex can sometimes come down to:

    Person one: “Wanna do it?

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    Person two: “Are you that horny? I’ve got to be at work in an hour, and we haven’t even had breakfast yet.”

    Person one: “Oh, come on, there is plenty of time.”

    Person two: “Alright, alright, we’ll just have to be quick. And you’re making breakfast afterwards.”

    There is nothing inherently wrong with a bit of routine or scheduling sex around your daily obligations, but by breaking the taboo and being somewhat formal about it can kill the passion to an extent. Married couples need to pick up a few tricks and learn to keep sex interesting. You can role-play, dress up in sexy costumes, try something different or schedule a romantic evening where you court each other and take things nice and slow. It is just something you’ll need to work on.

    5. You’ll need to accept that you and your partner enjoy different things.

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    Dissinterested couple

      While having a lot of things in common can bring the two of you together, it’s impossible to have the exact same hobbies and interests as another person. Your significant other might be somewhat of a slob and you may be a bit of a control and hygiene freak. One partner may enjoy listening to loud music while doing chores around the house and the other might prefer peace and quiet. You might enjoy most of the same things, but hate the fact that your partner watches a boring and predictable TV shows that just has to be on every single night. They are probably aware of all the plot holes, broken laws of physics, quasi science and faulty logic, but enjoy the show regardless, so pointing all these things out serves no purpose. Learn to accept your partner’s interests and be tolerant of them—you don’t have to like the same things, but don’t complain about the things they like and try to be supportive and understanding.

      6. A good marriage is all about compromising and doing your best, and not about “being right.”

      Let’s first say a thing or two about an overwhelming sense of entitlement many people today feel. A big part of growing up is about learning that no one “owes” you anything, that you can’t claim to “deserve” anything and that a “right” to do something needs to be earned and protected, and can easily be taken away by others, whether it seems fair or not. That’s another big one—life isn’t fair and it’s all about giving it your best, hoping nothing really bad happens and surviving catastrophes when they happen and moving on.

      This is true for all aspects of life, but relationships in particular. You can’t act like a petulant child and throw tantrums or get mad and put every time something isn’t going your way. However, there will be moments when one partner is simply too emotional and irrational, just looking for a fight or a way to blow off some steam by yelling at whoever is closest to them. In such cases you need to swallow your pride, forget about being right or fighting for justice, and focus on keeping your cool and doing damage control. Most times a simple compromise or leaving your partner alone for half an hour to cool off is going to be enough to keep the peace.

      7. It’s easy to misinterpret your partner’s actions and overreact.

      You will have plenty of things on your mind at times and an innocent comment from your partner might set you off. You might feel angry, tired, undervalued, self-conscious, etc, and this will cloud your judgment and determine how you interpret what has been said. There were times when I came home from a very long and frustrating day at work, did some more work at home and was in a very depressed mood, when something that was meant as joking comment—a sort of good-hearted lover’s banter—threw me over the edge to the point where I was raising my voice and trying to defend myself from the perceived insult.

      With time, you learn to pick up on the things that easily trigger you to go overboard (body image issues, low self-esteem, feeling inadequate in a professional or social sense are the most common triggers) and work on controlling your anger and coming to terms with the underlying issues. You can also let your partner know which comments are off limits and set some boundaries. In the end it’s all about not letting your fears and doubts get the better of you.

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      8. Fights over all kinds of things are common—learn to swallow your pride and apologize.

      Even when you learn to let things slide, stay calm during an argument, and become incredibly understanding of your partner, you will still get into an occasional fight. This is very healthy for a relationship, as it means that you are both playing with your cards open and don’t keep your feelings bottled up so they can fester and ultimately cause you to explode. There are certain common “scripted responses” among higher primates as social creatures, which allow a unique scenario to play out and keep the group together even when faced with big problems. It goes something like this:

      • Two people have very strong opinions on a matter and don’t want to back off..
      • Both people want to assert their dominance and things start escalating to yelling
      • Posturing, loud noise and aggressive language persist until one of the two comes out as a clear “victor” or someone storms out.
      • In the end either the dominant person or the person who has messed up extends an apology, which is then accepted.

      Even monkeys end serious arguments with an apology and make up, so think about this the next time you want to keep pouting and keep refusing peace offerings from your partner because you feel you were wronged on a non-issue like who is going to do the vacuuming.

      9. You don’t have to do everything as a couple and some alone time only strengthens your bond.

      Enjoying some peace and quiet

        When you get married you start to do a lot of things as a couple. You go shopping together, you relax after work together, you go out with friends as a couple, etc. However, your schedules won’t always overlap and neither will your interests, so it is a good idea to do some activities on your own. You may want some time alone with your friends, or one of you may just want to sit in front of the TV all day while the other wants to go swimming. This is where friends and family come in—you can get someone else to go with you and your partner can spend the afternoon doing what he or she enjoys. In the end you both get some alone time, you recharge your batteries and you have something new to talk about when you see each other again.

        10. It’s important to take time off from the mundane life every now and then.

        It’s easy to get into a rut after a while. Your mundane life can quickly bore you and cause you to be lethargic and even depressed. Most people enjoy a change of scenery every now and then, and as a married couple, you’ve got plenty to worry about both at work and at home. This is why an annual vacation is important. You can even have a few mini-vacations during the year. You can go on a weekend getaway, go camping, drive to another city and check into a hotel for a day or anything else that seems fun and exciting.

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        I’d like to end this article by saying that, despite it being a lot of hard work and a constant balancing act, marriage is a true blessing and it affords you some extremely wonderful moments that cast a huge shadow over all the little problems and squabbles. I am a better man for having spent all this time with my wife and I look forward for what is to come.

        More by this author

        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on July 20, 2021

        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

        You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

        Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

        Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

        1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

        According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

        “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

        Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

        Warming up

        If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

        If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

        Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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        1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
        2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
        3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

        Stay hydrated

        Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

        To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

        Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

        Meditate

        Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

        Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

        Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

        Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

        2. Focus on your goal

        One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

        Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

        Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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        Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

        If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

        3. Convert negativity to positivity

        There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

        ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

        It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

        Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

        Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

        Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

        4. Understand your content

        Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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        However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

        “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

        Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

        Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

        One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

        5. Practice makes perfect

        Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

        In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

        Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

        6. Be authentic

        There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

        Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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        Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

        To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

        With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

        Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

        7. Post speech evaluation

        Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

        Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

        We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

        You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

        Improve your next speech

        As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

        Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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        • How did I do?
        • Are there any areas for improvement?
        • Did I sound or look stressed?
        • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
        • Was I saying “um” too often?
        • How was the flow of the speech?

        Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

        If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

        Reference

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