So tonight I was trolling pinterest and stumbled on an interesting blog post. (Is it bad to post another bloggers blog on my blog?) Here's the link: http://www.danoah.com/2012/10/16-ways-i-blew-my-marriage.html
After reading 16 ways this man "blew his marriage" I was impressed. I've seen/read/heard a lot of marriage advice from 'happily married couples' but none has been as practical or down-to-earth as this. I've always wondered why people don't give the down and dirty advice that people need when it comes to relationships.
Now let me first clarify, some of the 'typical' advice is imperative. Such as, pray together, put Jesus first, etc. THAT is the most important relationship advice you can ever give or receive.
HOWEVER, there is other good advice out there that just seems to be lacking. So I'm going to supply some of the most knitty-gritty advice I can (from experience *which means usually what I screwed the pooch on*).
1. LADIES! This is for the ladies. And only the ladies.- When you are PMSing (and we all know when we are) and you are mad to and unreasonable point about something your man did/said, CHILL OUT! I'm terrible at this, which is why I can speak to it. Some of the most pointless/weirdest/stupidest (yes, stupidest) fights I've ever been in with Jon were because of hormones. So! When you are in that Godzilla-like rampage; just go get some chocolate, tell your guy you'll talk to him tomorrow and keep it to yourself. If you're still mad in the morning, then it's worth talking out. But I usually find that the next morning I'm either a) regretting the psychotic break I subjected Jon to the day before; or b) REALLY REALLY REALLY (did I mention REALLY?) glad that I kept my cool and said nothing. So, to recap. Don't let your hormones rule your actions.
2. Also for the LADIES (or some men, I suppose)- DO NOT GO FISHING. And I'm not talking the sitting on a rock for 12 hours straight watching crawdads climb onto the sand or try to steal your bait fishing... I'm talking the 'I feel so ugly today' or 'I wish I was as smart as ___' or 'Well it's not wonder people like her better' type fishing. One, it's not how we should be seeing ourselves. Two, if your man is anything like mine he won't get it and will answer wrongly. Men don't understand that when we're throwing our fishing lines out there that we want "no baby, you're the smartest most beautiful most wonderful most attractive so much better than that other girl you just mentioned woman on the planet and I worship the ground you walk on..." response. They'll respond like they would to any other comment (in Jon's case, that is silence most of the time). Then what happens? Usually the fight, the resentment, the bitterness, the (God forbid) wooing compliments of another man. If you spend your time fishing for compliments and don't get them from your guy and do from another, you are SETTING YOURSELF UP for infidelity. Easiest solution I've found? STOP FISHING! If you are feeling particularly down in the dumps on yourself one day, just tell your husband/fiance/boyfriend whatever straight up. I've found that when I do this, Jon is FAR more likely to reassure me that he finds me beautiful, witty and hilarious. :P So just be honest and don't play the fishing game.
3. For any and all- STOP BEING SO FLIPPIN LAZY!- Ok I am the ever loving QUEEN of this. Which is why I can speak to it. I am the laziest person I know. Especially when I have had a long day of nursing classes (4 hour long nursing classes) and a difficult patient write up and a test yesterday and one tomorrow (for the same class) and I finally make it to Jon's place to hang out. All I want in that moment is to lay down and let Jon rub my feet and tell me how wonderful I am. Unfortunately, Jon also goes to school full time, works full time and has plenty on his plate as well. So usually, he's ready to flop on the couch, turn on the xbox and let me rub his feet while telling him how awesome he is. You see the conflict here? To my extreme shame, I'm usually the one who gets what I want, and rarely returns the favor. However, in those rare (hopefully becoming less rare) moments when I actually DO what Jon wants (whether that be playing xbox, going out to dinner, doing errands*, etc) I end up feeling much closer to Jon, and he feels more loved, which makes him do things I want, which makes me feel loved, which makes me do what he wants... etc etc. So even though we're all tired, and we're all busy and we all wanna do what we want: take the time to put in REAL EFFORT and show your spouse/bf/whatever that he/she really means enough to you to put yourself aside. I promise you, it's worth it.
* Referring to the above * next to running errands: this is one of my least favorite things to do when I'm with Jon. But getting his errands done is important to him because he is NOT a procrastinator like me. AND when we do his errands together, he appreciates me so much more for it. It's ALWAYS worth the effort, so really, STOP BEING LAZY.
4. Ok, people. Time to get into the uncomfortable, even more shaming aspects of relationships. Here's the truth: No matter how long you've been together, how great your person is or how dedicated you are; a time is coming/has come/will come again when someone at work/school/the store/your favorite coffee shop/etc will catch your eye. You'll be tempted to flirt, chat or whatever. Suddenly, your significant others' less appealing qualities start creeping into your brain. Everything that has ever bothered you about them will suddenly be there. Advice #4 is RUN FOR THE HILLS! When that new person starts looking pretty attractive GET OUT OF THERE! It is so easy to allow all the bad qualities of your spouse to pop up, and you know what happens next? You start seeing those qualities everywhere, and because you only see those, they seem to pop up more. IE- "He doesn't tell me I'm pretty enough." This leads to you showing subconscious (at best) resentment. You know what that does, make your spouse want to tell you you're pretty LESS OFTEN. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. And it is BAD. So when you start getting those teeny tiny butterflies that we'd all love to deny having, there are some key things to do. Make a list of your spouse's best qualities (mental, paper, typed up whatever, just DO IT). Carry it around with you all day. Do NOT allow yourself to get into those dangerous situations with the other person. This is especially important and work/school type scenarios. I'd say avoid that not-your-spouse/fiance/bf/gf/whatever person altogether, but I know in the cases of school or work it may not be possible. So ONLY talk about work/school when you have to, surrounded by others, in broad daylight. The excuses come all to easily from our flesh to be alone. DO NOT DO IT! And the final, most difficult advice I can give, is be honest with your husband/wife/et al. It's so easy to want to hide those feelings or temptations from your spouse. You may feel like they'll feel betrayed or not trust you, and that may be true for a while. But in the end, it is best to be honest with them. It helps hold you accountable and often helps to defuse the subliminal tension and withdrawing that this may have caused. DO NOT under any circumstances, withdraw from your person (not for shame, not for anger, not for bitterness). Be honest, because it usually reminds you all the reasons you love them, and can really help to resolve the problem.
5. TOUCH YOUR SPOUSE/ET AL. Ok we're not getting dirty or inappropriate here. I'm a firm believer in keeping sex for marriage (if you are married then ya, go for it, it helps keep a marriage strong). BUT that's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about hand holding, kisses on the forehead, arm around them when walking, hugs and all those things we seem to have in abundance and the beginning that just seem to fade. This is the one point on here I think I have actually done a somewhat decent job at. Jon and I held hands on our first date and still hold hands any time we can. My love language just happens to be physical touch, but even if not the advice stands. Holding hands and all the other stuff listed above is a good, nonverbal way to show your person you love them. They are as important after marriage as before. Because Jon and I are waiting, it's our only way to physically show love. But I think even as married couples it's still extremely important. I love when Jon absentmindedly grabs my hand in church, or wraps his arm around me at the mall. It's habit for him, and it shows how important I am to him. It's the small touches that show throughout the day how much he is thinking of me and wants to remind himself/myself that he wants me by his side at all times. So I think it is so important to always, always, always hold hands. Until the day one of us kicks the bucket, I hope I always remember to never let go of Jon's hand.
Ok that's all the preaching I have for now. Hope it helps. :) Feel free to leave thoughts/questions/comments for me.
PS- sorry about the fact that there is NO spacing in any of my posts. It's just a side effect of the format I chose. I DO, in fact, know how to make paragraphs.