Thursday

Marriage Lessons You Didn't Learn in School


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Marriage Lessons You Didn't Learn in School
By Nancy Wasson

You probably didn't learn how to create a happy marital relationship when you were in school. Most spouses learn about marriage through the "School of Hard Knocks." This article presents ten marriage realities that school never taught you.

While you undoubtedly learned many useful things in school, how to create a happy marital relationship probably wasn't included. Most spouses learn about marriage through the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks."

As a student, you undergo drills to help you learn your multiplication tables, you're tested on your mastery of geography and science, and you memorize spelling words. As you progress, you learn to write term papers and to analyze symbolism in literature.

But you were probably not taught one of the most important skills you could learn: how to create, nurture, and sustain a healthy, satisfying relationship with good communication and intimacy. And, sad to say, some people never learn this skill even after multiple marriages.

There are many misconceptions about marriage and the impact of two individuals saying "I do." Much emphasis is devoted to planning the perfect wedding-more than is usually devoted to becoming the best partner possible. Often, the marriage is regarded as something that will fall into place with minimum effort after the ceremony.

Which of the following ten points about marriage were you surprised to learn after you said "I do"?

1. Creating a healthy, happy marriage takes hard work. It doesn't just happen on its own.

Numerous spouses are surprised by the amount of work it takes to keep a marriage on course. Some believe that if you really love someone, the relationship shouldn't be work, it should just flow easily. That sounds good, but in reality all meaningful relationships require an on-going investment of time, effort, energy, and commitment.

2. You don't get to coast for very long. It seems that when things are going well, you should get to "take a break" from the relationship stuff for awhile.

But if you're not growing and evolving as individuals and as a couple, then your relationship is soon going to suffer. There's no such thing as standing still and having everything stay the same. You're either going forwards or you're going backwards.

3. Saying "I do" is not the end-it's the beginning. Some spouses feel that once they are married, they don't have to extend as much effort into being romantic or nurturing the relationship.

But a marital relationship isn't the end of the road. It's only the beginning of your opportunity to "grow your marriage" and create a rewarding relationship with your partner.

4. You're not going to change your partner after you marry. No matter how many times this statement is written or verbalized, there are many individuals who still believe that their case will be different.

Motivation to change is normally the highest before marriage when both partners want to please each other. After marriage, it's easier to become comfortable and lose motivation to work on self-growth.

Females are especially susceptible to this dynamic. Because they often are hooked by the potential that they see in their partner, they're convinced that they can change him. This usually leads to a rude awakening after marriage.

5. You can't give what you don't already have. You have to be happy and at peace with yourself before you can create a happy, peaceful, harmonious marriage.

Marriage won't make you happy. Only you can do that. If you're not happy with yourself and your life when you get married, nothing will change significantly afterwards.

6. Frequent emotional housekeeping is required for intimacy to thrive. It doesn't take long for a marriage to develop serious problems when emotional debris from unresolved conflicts and issues piles up.

This is why good communication is important. Couples who can't talk about their differences and resolve conflict are at high risk for divorce. Feelings of passion, emotional intimacy, and heartfelt connection are all dependent on good communication.

7. The words you say are important, so pick them carefully. You can't expect the spouse you called a "witch" or "fool" at 8:00 p.m. to be thrilled at the thought of sex with you at 9:00 p.m.

By the words you use in your interactions with your partner, you impact how your spouse feels about you. Harsh, unkind words fuel anger, resentment, and bitterness. Kind words build rapport, respect, and caring.

The words you use to yourself and others when talking about your spouse and your marriage are also important. When you devalue someone or something verbally, it affects your feelings and perceptions. Negativity spreads like a virus.

8. Just because you dislike your partner intensely at the moment doesn't mean that you don't love him or her. It's normal to have mixed feelings toward your spouse at times.

Sometimes your inner two-year-old will appear in your reactions-you know, the one who could stomp his feet and scream "I hate you, Mommy!" when he didn't get his own way. There are times when spouses can't stand each other and the feelings of closeness and connection lessen. But that doesn't mean that the marriage is over or that the love is permanently gone.

9. Success in marriage, as in life, is an inside job. The breakthroughs happen when you take responsibility for your actions and attitudes and focus on what changes you can make to improve the relationship.

It's important to learn how to stay centered and balanced emotionally as much as possible, and that requires inner work on yourself. Learning to be more self-aware will help you better understand your part in creating the present situation.

10. There's no end to growth. There's always something else to experience and learn. You can always improve your relationship skills and grow more as a person.

Unlike school where you eventually get a diploma if you meet the requirements, you never "graduate" from relationship school. Just when you think you've learned to keep your equilibrium in your relationship, something is sure to throw you off balance as if to test you.

And in the areas where you resist growth, you'll find yourself endlessly repeating unproductive patterns. Then you have a choice-to stay stuck or keep.

3 Way to Find the Perfect Way to Propose


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3 Way to Find the Perfect Way to Propose
By Michael Webb

Did you know that the most memorable marriage proposals are also the most creative and unique?

Problem is, the more you want to blow her away, the more frustrated and stressed you become by trying to come up with an original idea!

Not to worry.

Here are 3 ways to get your creativity flowing and come up with your winning proposal idea:

1. FIND THE "PERSONAL" TOUCH

Aww… your girlfriend likes restaurants. Well guess what? So does everyone else!

You need to dig for those unique and special things about your girlfriend that stand out, and use them as your starting point for proposal inspiration. Nothing speaks louder than a proposal that says, “I love you and understand you deeply” at the same time.

If you're stuck for ideas, grab a piece of paper and think back to all the memorable moments while you two were dating. What are her favorite things to do? What place does she hold dear to her heart?

If she grew up on the beach, maybe you could take her to a high cliff near a magnificent beach where she grew up, and arrange for her to see the words, "Kim, will you marry me?" written in giant letters on the sand down below as the sun sets.

As another example: I once knew a girl who was totally OBSESSED with Superman. So in this case, instead of parachuting into a party to propose, why not do it in a Superman costume?

See where I'm going here? Your first step to a perfect proposal is making a list of all the things that are special to your loved one and using them as inspiration for your proposal.

2. ASK HER FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Believe it or not, no matter how long you’ve been dating, you’ll almost always discover some new “little known facts” about your girlfriend by simply asking her family and close friends. While these hidden gems might not spark a proposal idea themselves, they'll certainly guide you in the right direction and further inspire you.

3. FIND THE **WOW** FACTOR

Want to know if your proposal will be exceptional? Explain your proposal idea to a female friend and if she isn't "mouth-hitting-the-floor-with-astonishment" surprised, go back to the drawing board!

I'm serious.

This is the most important moment in her life (and yours!) If the proposal stinks, what’s she going to think about the YEARS ahead? Some people say that you should keep proposals "safe" or "simple" by doing something that everyone's already done before, but considering 80% of women said their proposals were less romantic than they'd hoped for, isn't that telling you something? While most men spend lots of money on the ring, they often lack originality, which leaves the woman feeling disappointed.

In conclusion, if your proposal doesn't excite friends and family, it certainly won't excite your wife-to-be.

For more Marriage tips click here.

Getting to the Root of the Problem


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Getting to the Root of the Problem
By Cucan Pemo

Before you can choose the proper persuasion techniques in your relationship, you will need to consider what you want to change and what is causing the problem in the first place. Sometimes it's not as simple as wanting something to change, you need to know what you're up against.

1) What's happened to you?

A lot of couples can undergo relationship troubles when there's been a significant event that has affected them.

The death of a family member, a pet, health problems, legal troubles, drug problems, and mental issues can all contribute to problems in a relationship when they're not sufficiently handled. Take the time to inventory your past few months to see what may have been the trigger for the problems that you're having right now. Think about the time frame of the problems that you are facing. Has it been a recent thing or have you been having troubles for a longer period of time?

2) What's going on?

Having problems is so vague that you might want to sit down and really define what has changed for you in your relationship. Instead of saying that things aren't good or that you wish things were better, what is happening right now that isn't something that you like? Are you talking less? Are you seeing each other less? Is one partner abusive? Try to figure out the action that is causing stress in your relationship so that you have a focal point for further discussions.

3) This isn't just about you

While you're at it, you need to start asking your partner as well what they think the problem is. Sometimes you need that outside perspective in order to get a handle on the direction that you need to go in. Try to approach your partner not from the perspective of blame, but rather from the viewpoint that you want to make things better.

This is not the time to say that someone is wrong, but that you want to figure out what is making you both unhappy.

Deciding that you're the only one in the relationship whose opinion matters is an easy way to cause more problems - even when you don't actually think that. Your partner does not want you to attack them for things that have happened and it can feel like an attack when you're the only one doing the talking.

You need to take the time to listen to your partner and really come to an understanding about what they need from you.

4) And what if your partner doesn't think anything is wrong?

An interesting situation that you might find yourself in is when your partner decides and answers that nothing is wrong. And what do you do then? When your partner is obviously unhappy - distant, avoiding you, etc. - you will want to approach him or her differently.

Sometimes making a date to talk and to figure out what you're not happy will be all the impetus for your partner to start revealing what's going on in their head.

They need to feel like you aren't going to attack them for having problems with your relationship, so make sure that you allow them to have whatever feelings they have without saying that they are wrong. What you want to do is tell them that you're genuinely interested in making your relationship better and that by finding out what they think, you'll be able to make them happy as well.

5) When you have figured it out

It can take time to really determine what the real problems in a relationship are, but once you do, you need to take action immediately. This could come in the form of discussing each other's needs and what solutions they might propose as well as sitting with your own feelings to see what solutions you might have for the other person.

It all comes down to communicating with each other and seeing what the relationship needs to become stronger.

Some couples find that talking works well to solve problems, while others like to write down their feelings and then share them. Whatever seems to allow you both to express your feelings honestly and accurately - do that. What's great about relationship problems is that most of them can be solved with a little patience and a lot of talking.

You just need to get started.

For more marriage tips click here.