Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 2: Speak Well Of and To Your Spouse

I remember working in an office where ladies would come in and rag on their sweethearts. I told myself "I will never do that." That thought "I will never do that" is a funny one, isn't it? Never - that seems so final. How do we know we will 'never'? It reminds of another time I was with some friends at a mall and there were kids screaming down the mall corridor, escaping their parent's grasp, and creating such a riot. One of my friends turned to me and said "I will never let my children behave like that in public." Really.....hmmm. Ok, perhaps I should have faith in that the thought that 'never' means 'never.' 

Alas, what I thought I would 'never' do, has come to light. I found myself complaining against my honey. GASP! I have become the very woman that I would 'never' be like. How did I get here? What in the world has my honey done that makes him deserve my behind-his-back bashing? Nothing. No one ever deserves it, but especially not him. In fact, I have been so focused on what isn't going right that it is putting such a negative vibe on everything. This is no good. I liken this thought to the energy we create around any situation. I've heard that if you say things like "I am going to fail my test" you start to believe it, and are more likely not going to pass.

According the article Enhance Your Health by Overcoming Stress, Negative Influences,
"The power of the mind is immense. You can often influence a situation simply by thinking about it meticulously, therefore changing the way you assess and approach the situation. You can even trick yourself into thinking something that is completely untrue."

When I say bad things about my honey that may be fact, the thoughts and ideas surrounding that relationship are bound to that negative energy I have created. It makes my heart hurt, and it is easier to react negatively to my sweetheart who has no idea what is going on in my mind and in my heart. It is better to concentrate on the positive things in the relationship. This is why when people ask newlyweds how marriage is, they most always respond that is is wonderful - even if the reality is that they are struggling with all those marital things like learning how to live together, trying to figure out finances, figuring out the next step in life, wondering how to be together romantically, figuring out how family fits into the picture, living in everyday 'roomate' situations, etc. 

In addition, picking on each other, even if WE individually think it is in funny can sometimes create internal and emotional challenges, especially if the other person does not think it is funny. There are some things that drive Adam crazy like when I lick my fingers, or when I sniff instead of blowing my nose. I have tried and tried to be better at not doing them. These things have become habits of mine, and it is really hard to stop them. I was trying so hard not to do them, and found that I would resent my sweetheart for having mentioned it at all. Then there are things that drive me nuts about Adam. He knows them. 

We both realize that we are trying not to purposefully annoy the other person, but also realize that we shouldn't spend all our energy trying not doing those little annoying things because it gets the best of us. We also found that when we can make fun of these little annoyances in fun and creative ways, it becomes easier to bear, but we have to be cautious on how we make fun of the annoyances. We are still getting the hang of it, but we at least try to laugh when the other is annoying us. And sometimes, to spare feelings or little disagreements, it best not to say that we are annoyed at all.

In the article, Responding the Challenges Through Positive Communication, there is a great story;

"At times it is better to leave some things unsaid. As a newlywed, Sister Lola Walters read in a magazine that in order to strengthen a marriage, couples should have regular, candid sharing sessions in which they would list any mannerisms they found to be annoying. She wrote:

“We were to name five things we found annoying, and I started off. … I told him that I didn’t like the way he ate grapefruit. He peeled it and ate it like an orange! Nobody else I knew ate grapefruit like that. Could a girl be expected to spend a lifetime, and even eternity, watching her husband eat grapefruit like an orange? …

“After I finished [with my five], it was his turn to tell the things he disliked about me. [He] said, ‘Well, to tell the truth, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about you, Honey.’


“I quickly turned my back, because I didn’t know how to explain the tears that had filled my eyes and were running down my face.”

Sister Walters concluded, “Whenever I hear of married couples being incompatible, I always wonder if they are suffering from what I now call the Grapefruit Syndrome” (“The Grapefruit Syndrome,” Ensign, Apr. 1993, 13).

Yes, at times, it is better to leave some things unsaid."

Today, I logged onto FB and saw this great post. I noticed that the majority of the ideas revolve around what we say about our sweethearts, and how we talk to them. I hope you find these ideas as fabulous as I did.


3. Go on regular date nights
4. Hide notes in secret places
5. Go to bed at the same time
6. Listen to music together-share ear-buds
7. Buy him gifts he will love
8. Revitalize the romance with intimate dates
9. Wear shirts that tell the world you love your spouse
10. Praise your spouse to other people
11. Read a marriage devotional
12. Sleep in his t-shirts
13. Renew your vows privately with whispers and memories
14. Renew them publicly with cake and bubbly
15. Go away together at least once a year

For Women Only
16. Hang pictures of the two of you around your house
17. Make his favorite dessert
18. Make sex a priority
19. Spend time apart occasionally
20. Learn to enjoy something he loves
21. Surprise each other
22. Meet him at the door
23. Text each other from across the room
24. Set reminders on your phone to remember him/her throughout the week
25. Call him right now and tell him you appreciate him

For Men Only
26. Leave work on time and come home early
27. Engage every day in meaningful conversation
28. Compliment each other
29. Take one day a month to make your spouse your total focus
30. Argue fair: avoid these words “you always” and “you never”
31. Kiss every day
32. Find tangible ways to serve your mate without complaining
33. Forgive quickly
34. Be honest.
35. Get on the same page: plan your budget together
36. Look your best as often as you can
37. Guard your marriage
38. Laugh together
39. When you are together-BE TOGETHER (take a break from phones, technology, etc)
40. Tell her she’s pretty, especially when she’s not feeling it

41. Make each other breakfast in bed
42. Do her chores for her
44. Get a couple’s massage or host your own privately
44. Dance together-soft music (both of you alone) or rocking music with the kids
45. Exercise together- hikes, bike riding, etc
46. Choose not to be annoyed by an irritating behavior/disappointment from your spouse
47. Thank your spouse often even for the least reason or gesture
48. Lay in bed together and stare into each other eyes, without talking
49. Learn something new together-take an art class, cooking lessons, etc
50. Leave a sweet comment on the Facebook wall
51. Support each other’s goals
52. Bring her flowers/gifts (even when she says they are too expensive)
53. Wear something your spouse loves
54. Share furniture-sit in his lap
55. Fight for your marriage
56. Make a point to eat dinner together most days of the week.
57. Never let your spouse feel like they come second place to your career or any other thing.
58. Talk about your dreams and aspirations. Be supportive of each other and dream big together!
59. Maintain a united front as your motto: Meaning- “Me and you against the world."
60. Speak well of your spouse.

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