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15 Best Things About Being Married That Only Wedded Couples Understand

15 Best Things About Being Married That Only Wedded Couples Understand

There’s nothing like being married! Yes, marriage is work, but with just the right amount of effort from both parties, coupled with love and a willingness to go the distance, a marriage can be blissful from the moment you say “I do” to the time both of you are old, sitting in rocking chairs, holding hands and reflecting on the moments in your life that mattered most to you. I’d like to share the 15 best things about being married that only the wedded couples understand.

1. You get to share everything.

When the two of you come together, what used to be “mine”, now becomes “ours”. You learn to be around one another in a new space, and you grow to understand that everything in a marriage is about each other. From the food you eat to the toothpaste you use, all of it belongs to both of you.

2. You learn that all marriages have their ups and downs, but the laughs along the way are the most fulfilling.

Will Smith said it best: “If you can be yourselves around each other, 100% of the time, and they can make you laugh like no one else can, you’ll never have a dull moment together.” Yes, stressful moments are a part of life, but the good thing is, you have each other to make it through. You’ll look back and see how far you’ve come and laugh at those times because you’ll realize it wasn’t as serious as you thought.

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3. You have the greatest shopping partner and a true ride-or-die.

Believe it or not, but your mate is the one that will see you more than any other person. And regardless of how you think you look, he thinks you are the best thing since sliced bread. He will tell you the truth about what’s hot and what’s not! I can attest to having an awesome time with my husband, no matter what we do or where we go. He will pick out my clothes and be with me for hours at the mall and not complain. When married, you get to learn so much about each other’s personality, likes and dislikes, sense of fashion, and what they are willing to do for you, when others won’t.

4. You get to build a legacy for your children.

You and your spouse get the distinct responsibility to raise your children with morals and values that will sustain them throughout life. You also get the chance to leave a mark on them that cannot be erased. You, as a couple, get to start immediately with identifying the things you want for your children and create opportunities that will allow your children to carry the mission and vision of your family for years to come.

5. You get to study your mate throughout your marriage.

There are many that feel that you have to date your mate for years in order to learn all you can about that person. While that may be true, you need to understand that there’s no way to figure a person out in three or four years compared to the lifetime you will spend with that person once married. Each day is a learning experience with your spouse. Take the time, because time is definitely on your side as long as you are married.

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6. You get to see them for who they really are before others do.

When they wake up in the morning with hair out of place and morning breath, you are there to observe it. However, that is when the beauty of the person you married truly shines through. If you have to have a person who is always dressed to the nines and in make-up or your favorite cologne, then others are only looking at your surface. As a married couple, you find that it’s much deeper than that.

7. You get to date your spouse every day.

Just because you go to the altar doesn’t mean dating stops! It should only increase and get better! My husband and I love to be spontaneous about where we go and what we do together. It’s not uncommon that we meet up at new places for lunch, or take the time during the day when most people work and go play golf. Each time we do, we know it’s another chance to date and share our love as well as our pastimes.

8. You get to work together to solve problems.

No one person has to be concerned about circumstances that many times are beyond his or her control. Two heads are better than one. When you come together to solve problems, it takes the weight off of one another. Also consulting a higher power other than yourselves keeps things in perspective for your household and family.

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9. You get to experience true levels of intimacy, other than just sex.

With the work of caring for kids, working a 9 to 5, cooking, cleaning, doing chores, after school activities, and handling different affairs, I know that sex may be last on the list at times. However, in between time, there are other things that married couples do that still shows intimacy. We find time to talk, hug, kiss, and be vulnerable towards each other. Those things will let your spouse know how much you care.

10. You get to be on the same team.

No one likes to feel that they are alone in a marriage. However, having a spouse that comforts you, cheers you on, and celebrates your accomplishments means that despite what others think, he or she will always work in harmony with you, not against you.

11. You get to turn the flame up in your marriage.

What better way to know your mate than to learn what keeps them attracted to you. My grandmother always used to say, “Whatever you do to get that man is the same thing you do to keep that man!” She was so right. Whether it’s role play, foreplay, or stay and play, do it! Obviously, that’s what he or she fell in love with!

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12. You keep honesty and integrity the focal point of your marriage dealings.

Trust is the foundation of any marriage. Honesty and integrity must be present so each person is comfortable in the decisions of the other because both parties are always in agreement.

13. You get to find out the true purpose of your marriage.

The purpose of your marriage is to always hold each other in high regard and to defend the sanctity of your marriage at all times. No relationship fires can stop what has been blessed. That is a marriage based on purpose and one that will last a lifetime.

14. You understand that giving is a two-way street.

Giving is the ultimate sacrifice. It comes from the heart and shows you are selfless. There’s no “I” and “my” but “us” and “we”. When you give to your spouse, it comes from a healthy place inside that says “what I have belongs to you”. No other person gets that privilege quite like your spouse.

15. You get to spend the rest of your life with your best friend.

Who could ask for more?

Featured photo credit: Got the Giggles/Simon Powell via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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