Homes 202: Marriage

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Homes 201: Relationships

Getting married is relatively easy

Wedding rings are a ridiculous industry

  • Getting an engagement and wedding ring combo usually costs less than individual rings
  • Rings can fit every budget, even stylish ones for less than $100
  • You can lose and replace an affordable far more easily
  • Cubic zirconium is entirely indistinguishable from diamonds to non-jewelers

Propose a few months to a year beforehand

  • The more time between the proposal and wedding, the more expensive it usually becomes
  • The man typically proposes to the woman
    • In some ways, a woman’s proposal invalidate a man’s natural pursuit of his mate
  • Try recording the wedding proposal without her knowing

Set a wedding date with an estimated type of wedding

The most affordable wedding is eloping

  • The more expensive a wedding, the more stress from expenses
  • Eloping, however, can often obstruct others’ celebration of your union

Plan locations for the reception, ceremony, and other events like bachelor/bachelorette parties

  • Schedule a rehearsal time
  • Confirm parking and transportation logistics

Determine the wedding professionals you’ll need, get bids, and sample their work

  • Wedding planner or consultant
  • Florist
  • Photographer or videographer
  • Wedding coordinator
  • Officiating pastor
  • Ushers
  • DJ or musicians
  • Caterers

Confirm your service providers

  • Coordinate with your professionals about your theme and style

Find out what to buy or make

  • Decorations
  • Food, drinks, desserts, snacks
  • Tuxedo and bridal gown, headpiece, veil, gloves, shoes, and jewelry
  • Bridal party’s and groomsmen’s outfits

Send out Save the Date notices and invites later

Fill the gift registry with new home items, specifically things you intend to use

Conventional weddings can become very expensive

  • Hiring professional calligraphers or painters
  • A destination wedding in a scenic vacation location
  • Including ceremony elements which require additional professional work

Make a memorable wedding

Invite people who matter to you, not people whom you feel obligated to invite

Send a wedding invitation to the President to get a congratulatory letter from him and the First Lady

Make a First Fight Box

  1. Put handwritten love letters to each other with a bottle of wine
  2. Seal the box on the wedding day
  3. Open the box after the first marital fight
  4. Both sides read their letters in a corner, then enjoy wine together

Do a few things shortly after the ceremony

  • Change every current document to your new last name
  • Send out thank you cards for the wedding
  • Memorialize and archive the marriage ceremonies
  • Combine both your possessions into one home
  • Get rid of or store duplicate belongings

Adjust your lifestyle to your new spouse

You’re are now a husband or wife and no longer a son or daughter

You must adjust to your spouse’s life

  • Likes and dislikes
  • Preferences and habits
  • Sleep cycle
  • Media consumption like TV, music, and video games
  • Pets
  • Bathroom use and shower times
  • Expressions of affection, sexual desire, and sexual expression
  • Cars and their maintenance cycle
  • Punctuality, productivity, cleanliness standards, and housekeeping habits
  • Shopping habits
  • Decisions to throw out, save or recycle
  • Temperature settings

Your lifestyle is no longer “you” and now includes your spouse as a team

  • Money habits
  • Holidays, traditions, and vacations
  • Friends, family relationships, and recreation
    • Both of you must agree on and shift how much you’re involved with your now-extended family
  • Appearance and reputation
  • Food, eating habits, and etiquette
  • Religious and political views

Start a few rituals to make your marriage better

  • Make a non-negotiable scheduled date night every other week
  • Take a picture every anniversary with last year’s photo in it
  • Fairly divide your household tasks
    • Shopping
    • Paperwork, bill paying, insurance, and budgeting
    • Trash, yard work, housework
    • Buying gifts, sending letters, arranging social activities
    • Automotive maintenance and repairs

Both your extended families are now a permanent part of your married life

  • Outside of cultural norms, you can include or exclude your family as much as you want
  • Try not to find fault in your in-laws if they aren’t dangerous, unhealthy or destructive
  • Learn how to say “no” to extended family, especially about decisions which affect your family

Your relationships with past friends will change

  • Your unmarried friends will grow more distant, especially around your spouse
  • Your newly married friends will compare and contrast their lives to yours
  • Your “veteran” married friends will generally condescend your marriage as quaintly new
  • Since your spouse won’t meet all your needs, stay in touch with friends and family

Your past unhappiness will bleed into your home and drag down your spouse

Don’t let your career interfere with your home life

Look at how your life connects to your spouse’s

  • Your triumphs and efforts
  • Your injuries and recoveries
  • Your emotional world
  • Your mission and legacy
  • What you want to be and become

Marriage is mostly the same as a romantic relationship, but more permanent and involved

  • Marriage is a lifelong friendship that holds together from both partners’ friendship social skills
  • Your spouse is human and can’t provide all your answers, especially as you learn about them more and start thinking like them

You will take your spouse for granted

Marriage makes your spouse more familiar and commonplace than your boyfriend or girlfriend

Keep your shared romantic passion alive

  • Keep life exciting and break routines occasionally
  • Do something silly or unpredictable
  • Try new things together with them

Consistently reaffirm how much you love your spouse

  • At least once a day, praise them and show your appreciation
  • Write love notes
  • Give a massage
  • Let your spouse have the last piece of food
  • Find new ways to show you like him or her
  • Make sacrifices for the family’s benefit
    • Take over childcare or chores
  • Ask about them and their thoughts, then actively listen

Keep learning about your spouse

  • Find new things you like about your spouse
  • Find things your spouse finds significant
  • Learn about people in their life (friends, potential friends, rivals or enemies)
  • Remember significant or upcoming events in their life
  • Discover your current stresses, worries, hopes, and aspirations

Keep practicing openness and love when life grows difficult, even when you’re tempted to create distance with your spouse

  • Develop a sense of humor with your spouse
  • Take time to have fun and share new experiences
  • Date your spouse at least once a week and make time for intimacy and sex

Don’t compare your marriage with others’

  • In time, your marriage will eventually bear at least a small similarity to every other marriage
  • Each marriage story is uniquely different because it’s the convergence of two lives

Don’t neglect your sex life

Everyone is terrible at sex at first

  • Being a virgin isn’t shameful, and two virgins who marry learn everything they need to know about sex from each other
  • Unlike movies’ portrayal, sex is messy, filthy, and silly

Men associate more identity to sex than women

  • Men are psychologically, physically, emotionally, and socially involved in sex
  • Many men will suffer an extremely depressing period of impotence
  • Women attach some identity to sex but care far more about looking beautiful

Never withhold physical affection

  • Sex will always make both people happier

You can’t force or rush sex, so take your time

Sex happens pretty quickly

Men reach orgasm more quickly than women

  • Men don’t need much foreplay
  • Most of the time, the only foreplay men perceive happens in the bedroom

Women need foreplay to build their experience to a climax

  • Women feel foreplay from as far back as the beginning of the relationship
  • Men can improve their wives’ foreplay by any gestures of affection or doing chores for her throughout daily routines

Sex eventually becomes boring

Try new things and explore

  • Dress up to make foreplay more exciting
  • Try new positions or silly ideas
  • Make one person give directions
  • Talk sensually or harshly to your spouse
  • Schedule “sensual time”

Be spontaneous and open-minded

  • Take it out of the bedroom
  • Find new toys and positions

However, never use porn

  • Porn destroys relationships by setting unreasonable expectations
  • It reduces your spouse’s commitment in the bedroom
  • Women should also avoid porn since it’s almost as much a problem for them as for men
  • The easiest way to fall into porn is to prioritize almost everything else over sex

Marriages usually fall apart from unexpected causes

Marriage is about commitment more than sentiment, feeling or love

  • Love in marriage is fantastic, but commitment keeps them together

Mental disorders and personality defects don’t ruin marriages

Shared interests alone don’t keep a marriage together

  • Marriage success comes from how a couple shares interests
  • Find common goals to work toward

Spouses don’t keep track of each other in healthy marriages

  • Both partners should act from selfless desire and love for each other

Gender differences alone don’t cause marriage problems, but they do bring them to the surface

  • Men need respect
    • Women are responsible for learning respect for their husbands
    • Most marriage problems usually start from a wife disrespecting her husband
  • Women need love
    • Men are responsible for learning to love their wives
    • Wives often disrespect their husbands as a reaction to feeling unloved

Marital conflict isn’t bad

Marriage conflicts have many legitimate causes

  • Stress from work, family, and miscommunication
  • Anger over the spouse’s lack of sympathy while venting or complaining
  • Loyalty issues between the in-laws and spouse
    • Your spouse must always be the priority
    • Parents’ involvement can complicate a marriage, but only when extended family becomes a higher priority than immediate family
  • Money issues and balancing between how it symbolizes security and the freedom it gives
  • Feelings of sexual inadequacy
    • Both spouses must communicate to each other what they find most attractive
  • Housework and chores and how to distribute labor
    • Make a list for your spouse to complete, then finish items on their list
    • Designate specific household tasks, like trash or dishes, to one person
      • Routinely revisit designations, especially if the chores stay consistently unfinished
  • Moving from being a couple to a parent
    • Stress comes from a lack of sleep, not feeling appreciated, and managing extra responsibilities
    • Mothers tend to feel intense affection for a newborn along with a protective instinct
    • Fathers often feel resentful toward their wife not having time for him, constant fatigue, and preoccupation with the baby

Most conflicts progress through a healthy pattern

  1. It starts softly without extra harshness
    • Both sides behave kindly and softly
    • Both people have chosen to act reasonably toward each other and fight fairly from it
  2. Both partners say potentially hurtful things with the relationship in mind
    • Expresses feelings openly
    • Expresses when needing time or distance to calm down
    • Apologizes for rudeness or intensity
    • Stops the conflict when it grows out of control
    • Shares appreciation and love throughout the exchange
  3. Both partners watch the others’ body language and responses
  4. Both partners are prepared to compromise
    • Everyone has the right to make mistakes and fail
  5. In the end, both sides are more tolerant of the other’s imperfections

Use the Speaker-Listener Technique (aka shared active listening)

  1. One person is designated as the Speaker and has the floor
    • The first Speaker should be the one who feels the most severe pain at that moment
    • The Speaker must be honest
    • The Speaker must respect they’re using the other’s time and conclude their point within 1-2 minutes
  2. The other person is the Listener
    • After listening, the Listener must paraphrase what they heard the Speaker say
    • The Listener must edit out verbal or internal responses or disagreements
    • The Listener isn’t trying to solve the problem and is only trying to understand the Speaker
  3. After the Listener has shared their understanding where the Speaker finds it acceptable, reverse the roles
    • Both sides should look for ways to apologize for legitimate hurtful actions they’ve committed
  4. Repeat back and forth until both sides feel fully understood

Marital conflicts only resolve when both partners are involved

Look at your spouse as part of your team

  • Don’t even think of divorce as an option

Enough open communication can resolve challenging marital conflicts

A hurting marriage can only succeed when both spouses apologize and accept the possibility of being wrong

  • Though it’s counter-intuitive, the relationship’s success comes from the spouse who receives the first apology, not the one who gives it

Respect your spouse’s hopes, aspirations, and desires

  • If they don’t feel free to share, they feel unsafe
  • The only way to create shared meaning is through both sides valuing each other

Anyone who appropriately resolves their marital conflicts will reap a life of shared generosity and kindness

  • Aim for the middle ground between avoiding and bluntly confronting conflicts
  • Marriage success determines parenting success

Breaking from a cycle of conflict is challenging, especially with a dysfunctional upbringing

  • Staying rational is difficult when it feels like your spouse is repeating your childhood patterns
  • More stress cripples how well you can form reasonable answers to a conflict
  • Unresolved issues can create chronic hopelessness and loneliness

Watch for warning signs of a damaged marriage

Good marriages don’t wait for a crisis to get assistance

  • They will include peers or older friends to come to a mutual understanding
  • Both sides will make the marriage a priority, even when they feel little hope
  • A marriage which isn’t a priority will drag extended family, children, and friends into the conflict and force them to choose a side

Some marital disputes come from deeper mental issues irrespective of the other spouse

  1. The conflict makes one partner feel rejected or hurt by the other
  2. The conflict keeps arising in conversation but never comes to a resolution
  3. One person holds fast to their views and won’t move or compromise at all
  4. The conflict has no humor, amusement or affection
  5. Over time, both spouses treat the other one as an enemy
  6. Both spouses hold more extreme views and become unwilling to compromise
  7. Eventually, they both entirely disconnect emotionally from each other

Poor conflict management styles show deep psychological wounds

Criticism – attacking partner’s personality or character

  • Usually intended to make someone right and someone wrong
  • Diagnoses the other’s failures, but not oneself
  • Uses generalizations
    • “You always…”
    • “You never…”
    • “You’re the type of person who…”
    • “Why are you so…”

Contempt – attacking partner’s sense of self

  • Intended to insult or psychologically abuse
  • Communicating from a superior place
    • Insults and name-calling
    • Correcting their grammar
    • Hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery
    • Body language and tone of voice involve sneering, rolling eyes, and curled upper lip

Defensiveness – seeing oneself as a victim

  • Can be any method of warding off a perceived attack
  • Makes excuses for behaviors
  • Meets complaints or criticisms with an unrelated charge of their own and disregarding theirs
  • Disagreeing and then complaining about something unrelated
    • “That’s not true, you’re the one who…”
    • “I did this because you did…”

Stonewalling – withdrawing to avoid conflict

  • They may think they’re staying neutral, but legitimately want to be uninvolved
    • Stonewalling elevates heart rate even without any outward expression
  • Stonewalling conveys disapproval, distance, separation, disconnection, and smugness
    • Stony silence
    • Monosyllabic mutterings
    • Changing the subject
    • Removing oneself physically
    • Silent treatment

Prolonged unresolved conflict often leads to a divorce

Divorces develop slowly over time

  1. Both spouses think they’ll never divorce or even consider it
  2. Discouragement sets in when they realize marriage is harder than they expected
  3. Both spouses find the marriage tedious and frustrating and are waiting for it to improve
  4. After some time, they both feel desperate to make the marriage work
  5. At least one of the spouses gives up hope the other spouse can meet their needs and wants and doesn’t believe the marriage can persist
  6. One spouse cheats when someone or something else meets intimate needs outside the marriage
    • A lover from a social circle or workplace
    • An addiction to a substance
    • A detached lifestyle from their spouse
  7. The rift between the spouses grows and the cheating spouse will suspect the faithful spouse of cheating
    • The faithful spouse will have no clue and will be puzzled by the others’ behavior
    • The cheating spouse will suspect the faithful spouse to the degree they distrust him or her
    • A cheating  spouse will often place their phone face down on the table

A divorce is usually not an option

Beyond religious reasons, divorces shouldn’t happen for many logical reasons

  • For the children to grow up in a good home
  • Financial stability
  • Not wanting to be alone or to start over with another relationship
  • The social image of divorce or the extra work it creates

The best way to keep a loveless marriage is through detachment

  • Detachment involves difficult boundaries and treats a spouse like kindly respecting a stranger
  • Don’t give advice or try to change them or their decisions
  • Disregard things that irritate you
  • Don’t comment on their behavior and let them live their own life

When possible, try to find new ways to connect with them

  • Enjoy meals together
  • Bond over shared experiences like the children or television
  • Keep conversation topics lightweight and neutral

Try to move on from a truly loveless or abusive marriage

Divorce is not the end of the world

  • After you’ve grieved, you have a chance to start again
  • Get over the divorce quickly and move on, but be more mindful about the next relationship

Of course, a successful marriage often leads to children

Next: Homes 203: Preparing For Children