Respect in Marriage Matters- 3 Ways to Show You Care

respect in marriage

If you’ve been struggling with your relationship, you aren’t alone. Many couples experience frustration and anxiety when one party doesn’t feel respected. You might know that you’re fighting without knowing the reason why you’re fighting- which can cause even more stress and anxiety. If you’re tired of losing arguments, of fighting over stupid things and of wondering whether or not your relationship is going to survive, it’s time to take action. Respect in marriage matters. Here are three meaningful ways that you can start to demonstrate respect and compassion to your partner in an effort to improve your relationship.

1. Let your partner win sometimes

Nobody wants to lose an argument, but sometimes you need to let your partner win. This demonstrates that you value and respect your partner’s point of view, but it also shows that you don’t always have to get your way. Part of being in a relationship means being willing to let the other person take the lead sometimes. If you’re ready to show your partner that you’re able to change, start by letting them have the final word.

2. Let your partner feel needed

If you’re used to handling everything on your own, your partner might not feel needed. This can be especially true with military couples after a deployment. Instead of trying to prove that you can survive without your partner, let them know how much you truly need and want them in your life. This could be anything from letting your husband take care of the baby one night, asking your wife to show you how to cook something, or asking your partner’s opinion about how to best handle a workplace problem you feel stressed about.

3. Let your partner know you value his or her opinion

Respect essentially boils down to one thing: value. When you demonstrate respect to someone, you let them know how valuable they are to you. One important way that you can show your partner your respect is to let them know how much you value their opinions. The next time that your partner offers advice on something, take it. The next time your wife suggests you wear a different tie, do it. The next time that your husband suggests you apply for a specific job, listen. Part of a successful relationship means demonstrating that the other person is important. Valuing their opinions is one of the simplest ways to show them how much you care.

Want more marriage advice before your big wedding day? Go to FLPremaritalCourse.com and enroll in our online Florida premarital preparation course. Many couples who have completed our course highly recommend it.

 

Add Oomph, Add Spark to Your Relationship!

Happy loving couple frolicking on the beach

Do you want to add spark to your relationship? The best-case scenario for any relationship is for both partners to feel happy, cared for, understood, appreciated, and valued. It sounds elementary, but genuinely living this way takes attentiveness to give your relationship a boost.

To have a meaningful relationship, you’ll need to do more than bring home gifts for each other, enjoy a combined income, or share a bed. Knowing your values and those of your partner will help you choose the right actions so you can add spark to your relationship. Ultimately, expressing your expectations and hearing your partner’s is essential for knowing how to get along. Sometimes you can add oomph to your relationship by knowing better what not to do, yet other times you can do so by taking purposeful actions.

Watch Out for Disparaging Comments and Actions

The most subtle problems in a relationship can often be avoided if you know what to watch for. Each partner has his or her own sensitivities. Walking away from a conversation, failing to acknowledge your partner’s opinion, focusing on your phone or a TV show while your spouse is talking, may give them the impression you don’t care about them.

Looking at your partner the wrong way, being sarcastic or critical (even if you think it’s constructive) can be mistaken for dislike. No one wants to be with someone they feel doesn’t like them.

Not only should you be careful of your behavior, but you should be careful not to misinterpret your spouse’s behavior. Ask for attention or clarification when needed.

Balance the Need for Space

Women’s hormonal cycles may not only test a woman’s own fortitude, but that of her partner. Likewise, cranky, tired men may become easily short-tempered. No one wants to be around someone who is irritable and acting unloving. At moments like this, it may be helpful to warn your partner how you’re feeling so they don’t take your actions personally.

No one is perfect and it’s perfectly fine to offer each other space rather than trying to fix each other. If your relationship is to succeed, give each other adequate breathing room.

Be Aware of the Potential to Keep Score

Resentment may brew when it seems like one partner is doing all the work. Make sure you revisit your expectations and communicate what you feel is lacking. Don’t become tempted to keep score on how much more you’re doing than your partner is. Love is action and you will reap what you sow, eventually.

Model Positivity and Caring

The best gift you can give your partner is to live with a positive attitude. Be generous with compliments. Get excited about small things. Happiness is contagious.

Instead of looking for what’s going wrong in your relationship, look for what’s going right. Celebrate the good. Laugh at the silly stuff.

Share your dreams and plans, but don’t worry if your partner’s dreams and plans vary from yours.  Find middle ground.

Make Life Interesting

It’s easy to stay home to relax, but doing the same thing repeatedly becomes boring. Keep action in your relationship. Buy tickets for special events, take walks, make vacation plans, and work on household projects together.

These are but a few simple ideas to implement to add spark to your relationship. Get the foundation right.  Protect your relationship from subtle pitfalls. Stay active and involved, and then add in all the gifts and loving gestures you can so your relationship will always be meaningful.

Want more marriage strengthening ideas? Discover them by taking our e-learning course at FLPremaritalCourse.com 

Secrets to Cutting Your Wedding Costs

Couple figuring out wedding budget

Cutting your wedding costs can seem like the new priority once you start to get actual quotes for wedding services. Your initial wedding budget may be way off from those other actual quote numbers! Fortunately, there are often ways of cutting your wedding costs.

To do so, though, you will need to prioritize and agree to spend more of your budget on only a few of those things you both feel are most important. For the rest, you will need to become more flexible or downright cut-throat so you can substitute or eliminate other things often included as part of “traditional” weddings.

Here are several ideas for cutting your wedding costs, if you dare…

1. Avoid or reduce use of real flowers – Use potted plants or other decorative inexpensive items as centerpieces, artificial flowers, or paper crafted flowers (the latter two can also work for bouquets). Or, use extra-large type of flowers so that you can buy less stems overall.

2. Have your wedding reception at a fancy restaurant in a scenic location to avoid renting a location and separately catering

3. Have your wedding ceremony and your reception at the same location

4. Find a venue that gives you the flexibility of using your own outside vendors instead of only theirs

5. Ask for help from friends and family members and use their gifts and talents for your memorable wedding day. You can request their service instead of a traditional gift. You may have a friend of family member who is skillful enough to make your wedding cake, another who can craft flower arrangements, or another who may be willing to help you set up a play list or be skilled as a DJ or musician.

6. Choosing a wedding day that is a weekday or a Sunday (instead of the most in demand day, Saturday). Also, when possible, find out the high season in your area, and see if you can instead book a wedding date during a lower season to reduce costs.

7. For the reception, consider either: no alcohol, limiting alcohol to just beer, wine and champagne (rather than open bar with all liquor) or limiting the hours of an open bar

8. Take a premarital preparation course. In Florida, and in some other states you can get incentives from the state- For instance, if you’re marrying in Florida, you can save money on your marriage license and avoid the usual 3 day wait. Regardless of state incentives, though, taking a premarital course can help you have a more successful marriage and avoid a costly relationship breakup later on.

9. Find and compare all inclusive wedding ceremony and reception deals which can sometimes save money on separate pieces and using various individual vendors. For example, consider a golf club location/restaurant, cruise ship, local botanical gardens, or local dinner cruise boat. They will often offer wedding packages that already include scenery, decorations, music and/or food.

10. Consider use of a wedding planner, especially if they can show you they have discounted deals with various vendors that you can benefit from.

 

Florida residents complete a premarital preparation course online at FLPremaritalCourse.com

 

 

 

How Can You Handle a Disagreement in a Productive Manner?

Couple in a disagreement

Here’s a scenario. You and your spouse are having a disagreement. Each of you has a different idea about the issue of contention. How can you get past the frustration and handle this disagreement in a productive manner?

First, you need to decide what “handle this disagreement in a productive manner” means to each of you. Then, that will guide you towards an end-goal during your discussion. The interpretation of that phrase is what leads you down one road or another and towards a goal. It’s as if you’re at a fork in the road. One road leads to more arguments, anger, and perhaps even insults and verbal abuse. Yet, another road leads to keeping the peace, continued happiness with your partner and keeping a happy home.

As an illustration, consider that making the decision to turn onto one road is when you decide what goal you prefer to follow. Then, driving the car down that road equates to the steps you take with what you think, say, and do during the next few minutes or hours with your partner so you can get yourself down the road you choose and to your end-goal there.

Let’s explore two very different types of interpretations of “to handle this disagreement in a productive manner.” Keep in mind that there can be other interpretations and if so, the person will be led down an even different road as they attempt to realize that different goal. For this discussion, we will focus on one interpretation which generally leads the couple into a worse conflict and another which generally leads to a calmer conversation.

The Fighting Road

If one of you interprets the phrase “to handle this disagreement in a productive manner” as meaning “I will get what I want” (because what I think is the best way and so of course it’s the most productive way to handle the disagreement) and your partner interprets that phrase similarly (so they think their idea is better and they will also fight tooth and nail to get it), then the two of you will be locked into an escalating fight where the goal is to control and win (what only one person wants). In this case, each person has as their end-goal “to win with my idea.” Unfortunately, this road typically leads to a worse conflict where neither truly “win” because of what they also “lose” (the trust, respect, good feelings from their spouse).

If you choose to think and act like that couple, then you and/or your partner might be:

1. Intimidating the other by yelling louder or interrupting them so they can’t even put forth anymore of their thoughts

2. Insulting the other so they will buckle and accept your idea instead

3. Trying different tactics to “prove” your idea is superior to your partner’s idea, or that your partner’s idea is “stupid” whereas yours makes the most sense

4. Refusing to talk with each other anymore while harboring resentment, being angry with each other, and with no resolution in sight

The Power Couple Road

On the hand, if you are part of a couple where you each decide to interpret the phrase “to handle the disagreement in a productive manner” to mean “we will agree to some solution to resolve the current issue, if possible, but the main goal is always to maintain the well-being of our relationship and stay respectful, loving, and happy together” then you will not be locked in a fight where the goal is to control and win what only one wants. In this case, your partner’s happiness, ideas, and feelings are a top priority and you want to maintain a happy home. So you and your partner go down a road where each is saying and doing things towards that end-goal by calming the situation and winning by gaining ongoing good feelings towards each other in a respectful and loving relationship.

If you choose to think and act like that couple, then you and/or your partner might be:

1. Thinking of more alternatives: discussing more ideas until you both agree to one, even though the “solution” you decide on may be one that neither of you originally proposed- however, you are both “satisfied enough”

2. Standing down- letting your partner get their choice instead so you both stop arguing and continue happy together rather than angry with each other

3. Supporting your partner’s feelings even though you don’t agree with their proposed solution (example: partner is fed up with kids that day and proposes selling them online – instead of yelling that your partner is stupid for thinking that way, you give your partner a hug, say you’re sorry they had such a hard day with the kids, you know the kids can be extra challenging some days, and ask what can you do or both of you do now to help alleviate your spouses’ distress)

4. Agreeing to have different ideas: tabling the discussion because “it’s not worth it” (it’s not worth hurting each other over this issue) and you decide you each can just continue thinking differently about this and still get along fine- OR- temporarily stopping the discussion by mutual agreement so each of you has time to calm down and/or to think of more ideas for more discussion at another time

5. bargaining or negotiating such that you or your partner get what one wants now but only by also making the other one happy by giving them something in exchange now or in the future, and both of you are satisfied with the deal

This second scenario of resolving a disagreement in a productive manner is one that generally leads a couple down the road to having a stronger, respectful, and happier relationship. With such a couple, they both do all they can to make choices in what they say and do to keep the closeness and happiness they feel in their relationship as their first priority, even when they (at least initially) disagree.

Ultimately, though, this couple chooses to agree on one very important thing. They agree to put the topic of disagreement in the background (as less important) and to put their relationship first.

Marriage Advice To Live By

Couple kayaking

Whether you are a soon-to-be or newlywed couple, there are some things you should never forget as you continue on your romantic journey together. Here are a few pieces of marriage advice that we hope you will strive to live by.

1. Always remember that you’re on the same team

When you choose to be married, you are choosing your lifelong teammate. You are both working towards the same goal, a happy and healthy marriage. When conflicts surface, focus on finding a peaceful solution rather than encouraging opposition.

2. Find balance

While dedicating time with your significant other is important, it is also good to maintain your own interests. Spend some time occasionally with your friends or volunteer for a non-profit. Don’t forgo your passions for the sake of your significant other, after all, they likely have their own things that they would enjoy doing. Support each other in your endeavors– doing so will strengthen your relationship and give you more things to talk about later on!

3. Find common hobbies

More likely than not, you have probably realized that there are some things that your significant other doesn’t enjoy doing (whereas you do). It can sometimes be disheartening to discover that some activities that you are passionate about aren’t met with the same enthusiasm from your partner. But discovery can lead to excitement. Spend some time to discover activities that you can both enjoy, it is very rewarding when you find a common interest and it allows you to do something different from the normal routine together.

4. Play & Date

Have fun! After a while, a regular routine will get established. Keep the romance alive (who said it has to end when you get married?) by setting aside some time to enjoy each other’s company. Enjoy a movie, a nice dinner, a round of mini-golf, or something else entirely. In fact, you could choose to watch a favorite tv show together on your couch. Either way, quality time spent together is the ultimate goal.

Planning to get married and want to power up your relationship to the max? Enroll in our highly-rated online premarital preparation course here: http://FLPremaritalCourse.com 

Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

Couple Arguing

 

Relationships are full of emotions. We often think of these as happiness, joy, and excitement. In fact, with how many emotions you may experience, it’s no surprise that there are negative emotions that will appear as well. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t properly handle a negative emotion and ultimately convert it to a positive one! One of the most destructive emotions is anger — simply because it is such an easily misunderstood emotion. Many couples don’t express their anger in a constructive way, which leads to it being a hurtful experience.

Recognizing Your Emotions

When anger is expressed in a way where one partner takes it too personally or begins to feel alienated, it can have a toxic effect on the relationship as a whole. But it’s important to realize that each person has their own perceived reality, and while you may feel strongly about a situation, the other person may not feel exactly the same. With that in mind, you must take responsibility for your emotions– it isn’t bad to have them, but you should understand them. Make an effort to figure out how to handle the feeling in a way where you can satisfactorily address the problem with your partner. This is critical for communication!

“It’s not about me.”

As you come to the understanding that our emotions are a response to our own thoughts, beliefs, and other stimuli, try to be more mindful in situations when your partner is angry. While the emotions may have been brought up by something that you’ve done, they are telling you about themself. It isn’t completely about you. With that in mind, listen respectfully to what your partner has to say about the situation. It can be extremely difficult to listen without interrupting, especially in situations where you feel blamed. However, you should keep in mind that this is a form of intimacy. But instead of getting defensive, you should encourage yourself to feel curious. Ask yourself: why do they feel this way?

When you start asking yourself these questions, you place your focus on the real issue and opportunity. Not only do you get to learn more about your partner, you can understand how the things you do impact them. Conflicts are hard to handle, but by being a respectful and caring listener, you can peacefully diffuse and resolve problems.

Tips to Remember:

  • Ask questions that help you understand why they feel the way they do
  • Do not get defensive
  • Encourage curiosity between each other

Discover more tips for marriage and relationship success by taking our fun, online Florida premarital course.

Marriage Poem: I Promise

A marriage poem can be used as inspiration for wedding vows

Are you looking for wedding vows ideas or for a marriage poem that could be suitable as a reading for your wedding ceremony? If so, here is a heartfelt poem, ‘I Promise’ by Dorothy R. Colgan, which might fit your … Continue reading 

The Honeymoon Phase is Over… What Now?

couple holding handsPeople always hear about the honeymoon phase in a relationship, where the relationship itself changes into something else. That something else shouldn’t be mistaken for something negative; it’s a time when you’re both comfortable with each other and it’s a sort of stable routine. The tension, the nervous excitement is gone and now you’re spending time with your soulmate knowing who they are and how you both fit into each other’s life.

But what should you be thinking about after you pass that phase?

After the honeymoon phase, the idealizations and projections of the perfect partner fall away and you see your partner for the real person they are. At this time, infatuation changes into commitment. The post-honeymoon stage of a relationship is a vital growing phase in a relationship, where you begin to notice habits, dislikes and likes, and other things that you’ve never noticed of your partner before. It can be a tough time, which is why, unfortunately, some relationships don’t last past the honeymoon stage. But, with due diligence in learning about your partner and making an effort to be mindful that they might be noticing new things about you too, this time can bring you closer than ever before.

Keeping the romance alive

It’s important to remember that relationships are work; you can’t just expect them to succeed without putting in some effort. But it is possible to keep romance alive, at any stage of your relationship. It’s easy to desire excitement, but feelings of stability, mature love and deep attachment are vital for successful relationships. And, as Anne Hathaway says, “mellow doesn’t always make for a good story, but it makes for a good life”. Couples that make conscious efforts to stay connected, do things together and mix up their normal routine can still enjoy the excitement that they adored from their relationship early on.

Discover more tips for marriage and relationship success by taking our fun, online Florida premarital course.

How Apologizing Can Go Wrong

How apologizing can go wrong

Sometimes it can seem like your good intentions backfire.

Whether it was a miscommunication or an unneccessary argument, sincere appologies are important for opening communication and moving past a problem. But why is it that sometimes, when you apologize, things just seem to get worse?

Even if we have the intention to admit we’ve done something wrong, it can be easy to throw in an additional phrase that will put your partner on the defense. These acusatory phrases are a means to shift the blame. Here is an example of how apologizing can go wrong. Which would you prefer to hear if your partner was apologizing to you and you were feeling hurt? “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have reacted like that. It was inappropriate.” OR “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have reacted like that… but if you had just listened to me…”

Apologies are stand-alone statements where we take responsibility for our actions and ask for forgiveness. Shifting blame is an attempt to apologize where you claim that the actions you made were someone else’s or something else’s fault. In doing so, we’re not really taking responsibility for our words and actions. So, the next time you want to do a heartfelt apology, don’t let it turn into the blame game. When you start blaming your partner for your actions, it’s no longer about recognizing that you’ve done something wrong and hurtful, but rather, it becomes about attacking and hurting your partner further. Remember, when you blame your partner for your actions, it’s more difficult for them to forgive you and move past the situation.

How can you avoid shifting blame?

First of all, it’s important to understand that blame-shifting is often done in an attempt to protect ourselves and our image. Nobody wants to be at fault for a mistake. But we need to also recognize that blame-shifting can be detrimental to relationships, both in our personal lives and our professional lives. If you’re apologizing for something, avoid using the word “but” at the end of an apology and don’t bring up the actions of someone else. These tips will help keep you on track to accomplish your end goal.

If you have a problem, you’re going to want to talk about it. But doing so should be done in a way where both individuals feel comfortable. Starting the conversation with an apology and following it up with something your partner did that really bothered you isn’t the way to begin a healthy, open dialogue. Starting with “I feel…” is a better option, but remember that your attitude, inflection and word choices are significant when it comes to having a worthwhile discussion.

Discover more great tips that will help you achieve a successful, long-lasting and fulfilling marriage by taking Envision Love’s fun, online marriage preparation course. Taking the premarital course will allow you to receive a discount on your Florida marriage license and skip the 3-day marriage license waiting period.

This is the Time for New Year’s Relationship Resolutions

Couple Looking forward to the New Year 2015, setting resolutionsCouples can set New Year’s relationship resolutions together

This is the time. This the end-of-the-year, beginning-of-a-New-Year time when people reflect on their past and their future. They make resolutions with new goals, ambitions and directions for a new year and for their future. Often we consider these to be personal/individual. However, we invite you to consider including New Year’s relationship resolutions too. These would be new goals, ambitions and directions for your relationship and for your marriage. Doing this can help you keep your relationship from stagnating as it keeps you both moving forward with new ideas and renewed energies directed within your relationship. Whether you are engaged and getting married soon, or been married for many years, this is a great time to sit down together and plan next year’s ideas for relationship adjustments or improvements as well as plan for new fun and exciting experiences you can share together. You can also use this time to reflect back in general on your shared past and envisioned future to improve emotional intimacy and strengthen your love bond.

Relationship tune-up plus

Essentially you can use this time of year to do a relationship check-up and tune up- it’s like giving it a boost to boot! Sometimes it may seem awkward or you may feel like “it never seems to be the right time” to discuss such topics with your partner. But, this is the time of year when it’s not only appropriate, it’s expected for you to set New Year’s resolutions. So, it’s the right time, without awkwardness, for you both to share your views and discuss ideas for your New Year together!

Need some conversation starters? Have no clue about what you can adjust or improve in your relationship? Don’t know what new fun or exciting experiences you can have together? Here are some ideas that may directly apply to you or that can inspire you to think of additional ideas for your own relationship.

New goals, adjustments, and improvements in the relationship

  • Changes with chores for one, the other, or both of you
  • Changes with physical expressions of love and/or sexual activities – type/frequency/initiation
  • Changes with time spent together and/or apart/time management
  • Changes with routines
  • Changes with child rearing
  • Changes with financial management/bills/what big ticket items/expenses to save for
  • Changes with how you treat each other and encourage each other/what, when, how
  • Changes with an addiction that affects your relationship

New fun or exciting experiences together 

  • Try a new sport together/Take newbie lessons
  • Decide on a local attraction you both like and get a yearly membership there (some places also offer extra perks like reciprocal discounted or free privileges to other similar type places for the year as well, like other museums or zoos or gardens)
  • Go to one of your “someday I want to go” places so you can cross one more thing off the list
  • Join a health club and exercise together
  • Learn to play the same or different instruments, then jam/play together for fun, or entertain your friends and family
  • Plan a day trip to explore a new-to-you town or city
  • Plan a Valentine’s day experience
  • Plan a visit to far away family members or friends you’re longing to see again
  • Plan on a monthly fun activity you want to regularly participate in (card game, bowling, biking, sailing, book club?)

Don’t feel like you have to make all sorts of changes and plans. Discussing and setting just a few New Year’s relationship resolutions together each year can be enough to strengthen and grow your relationship. Anything you both agree to and feel excited about will re-invigorate your relationship as you begin to realize more fun, more respect, and a deeper love connection with one another.

Learn more tips and skills towards realizing a successful marriage at FLPremaritalCourse.com