Have you felt any pre-marriage anxiety? We enter marriage aware of the 50% divorce rate and we desperately do not want to follow in the footsteps of those we know who went down that road. It looks ugly and messy.
So in the back of your mind, I wonder if you struggle with some of the same fears that I have had…
- Do you wonder if you are up to the task of putting another before yourself?
- Maybe you wonder if your love is strong enough to stand the test of time?
- Are you committed enough and convicted enough to break the pattern of divorce that you have seen modeled by your own parents or by your other role models?
- What if I don’t love my spouse enough or in the “right” way?
Yes, you may have some fears. But many of the are probably irrational. Fear is no reason not to move forward choosing to live courageously despite your fears.
I am interested in learning ways to improve my relationships, whether it is my friendships, interactions with my family, romantic relationships etc.
So whether you are married, single, widowed, divorced, I believe that we can all be working on learning how to better communicate with those around us. Because the quality of our relationships with others really does have a direct impact on our own happiness.
So continue reading for quick tips to improve your conversations with the important people in your lives.
Try to NEVER use Absolutes in your Conversations with your Partner
What in the world is an absolute? Well it is words like “always” and “never”.
We have all been there before. You are frustrated with your partner because once again, they have forgotten to take out the trash, clean up after themselves, or they have done something else that frustrates you or hurts your feelings.
When you start out your sentence with “you NEVER” or “you ALWAYS”, you are immediately putting them into defensive mode. They will most likely amp up, remembering all the times where they did do what you wanted but you just never noticed.
Try putting a more positive spin on what you are saying – something like “I would appreciate it if you would do …”
It really is all in the delivery. Let me know how it goes. I’ll try my best to do the same.
Choose your Battles: Are you Fighting for what Matters?
Last night, I was having a conversation with a very wise friend of mine. She was telling me that she was learning how to let things go that others did or said (that she maybe did not agree with) so that she could then make a stand when bigger issues arose.
She spoke about having to “choose her battles” so that when a must-have issue came up she would have more credibility when she took a firm stand.
I’ve been thinking about this on and off and how difficult this can be. For me, it can be hard to let things go that I do not agree with, especially when it comes to the opinions or actions of those that I am closest to.
It can be tempting to think that I need to let them know that there is a better way or easier way to approach the situation. Isn’t this just me being helpful? :-)
But if we are always correcting others and making a hard stand over every issue, then we run the risk of losing our credibility.
It is like the boy who “cried wolf” and nobody believed him anymore when there was a real wolf.
What are your core issues that you will absolutely ALWAYS take a stand on? And are there a few things that you can let slide so that when those core issues come up you have a bit more credibility and people will listen to you?
Years ago, my wise grandpa shared these words of advice with me and with all of his other grandchildren...
I think that there is definitely truth in this. Because I will always have unfulfilled desired even when I do find that "special someone" one day.
It's funny that when you are not married, you long to be married, and then sometimes once you are married you long for those days of being single and free. I am in the process of learning to be content with my stage of life.
Regardless of your relationship status, I know you are learning to be content with where you are at. I know that I certainly am. Does this mean that it is wrong for you to desire more for your life, to set goals, to be ambitious, and to work hard to achieve your dreams? Absolutely not!
You should strive to be happy with the blessings that you currently have. If you can’t be happy with where you're at now, then you won’t be happy when you achieve your dreams.
I have had the honor of watching many amazing marriages throughout my lifetime – my parents’ marriage being the most influential. They had a wonderful, supportive relationship and celebrated 30 years of marriage together before my Dad passed.
Watching them, it was so obvious to me that even the most beautiful and loving marriages are difficult and can be painful. Because it is all about learning to put the other person above yourself. And that is hard. If I’m totally honest, I fear that I am selfish at the core (and that you are too).
Yes, marriage can be hard. There may be seasons of struggle. But it is also SO worth it and it has the power to inspire you and those around you.
Because there is something that makes us stop and wonder in amazement when we see a couple that is still together 20, 30, even 40 years after they have taken vows. A couple that has persevered and shared in one another’s joys and pains and that has worked through difficulties and come out stronger for it.
I’m rooting you on. I can already picture that festive anniversary celebration that you’re going to throw 10 year years from now. The one where your friends and family celebrate with you as you toast with wine and sparkling cider to the next decade of life together.