Nov 12, 2010
Aha! Maybe that's the point. If you or your spouse are always playing games, then it could be taken as a sign that your marriage isn't as happy as it could be. Or, perhaps the situation is worse and your marriage is in real trouble. Even if it is humming along nicely, the very fact that mind games are being played means there is room for improvement.
Of course we are talking about mind games up to this point. This may be referred to as manipulation, deceit, laying guilt trips or otherwise being dishonest about what's really going on. however, there are other types of marriage games that you can play. What we are talking about here are more purposeful games that both of you play together. There isn't anything sneaky about them, and they are designed to help strengthen your relationship.
"Why I love you." This game is just like it sounds. You look each other in the eye, then each spouse takes turns mentioning one reason why they love the other one. The first few times you play this it may be difficult to name more than a few things, that's okay. You both have to agree to not take the game personally f the other one is having a hard time. The more you play, the more fun you will have.
"What you mean to me." This game is played the same as the "Why I love you" game, but you each take turns saying what you mean to the other. Just imagine how much better you will make each other feel as you get better at rattling off your lists of why you love and appreciate each other.
"Silence is golden." They say the vast majority of our communication is non-verbal. You can put this to the test and work on having a better relationship at the same time. Go for a preset amount of time where you will agree to talk to each other without using any words. If possible, try doing it for an entire day. Also, choose a block of time where you will be together for most of it, otherwise it won't have the same effect. You may be amazed at just how much you can say without using any words at all.
While there are some games you shouldn't play when you are married (like mind games), there are marriage games that will help you grow closer as a couple. The three games above are a good start, but there is no reason you can't make up games of your own, or find other games people have created for the purpose of a happier marriage.
Nov 11, 2010
Those are only the legal marriage requirements though. Virtually any couple that wants to get married can do so. It's easy; maybe too easy. However, the other prerequisites are much more meaningful and have a bigger impact on how happy a couple will be. What these requirements all basically boil down to are compatibility.
But what about the concept of "opposites attract"? The truth is that it is more of a romantic notion than true reality. Study after study has shown that even if opposites do attract, they very rarely stay together. this is because there is too little common ground on which to build a relationship. While it can be appealing to meet somebody that is so different from you, the novelty soon wears off. That doesn't mean you should each be carbon copies of one another, far from from it. But you should have a few things in common. Of course, these are all things you should know before you even start thinking about getting married.
There are three main requirements for marriage. If you find that any of these are missing, that's okay. Just being aware of them gives you a chance to make them a part of your relationship or improve on them if needed.
Good Communication. You have to be able to talk to each other, not at each other. The secret to this is listening. That's much more than hearing what your spouse is saying, you also have to pay attention and try to really understand. If you are unable to communicate with one another, then your marriage is headed for trouble. The good news is that better communication techniques can always be learned. That being said, communication will only work if you meet the next prerequisite.
Respect. Everything derives from respect. You take each other seriously (in a good way) and are accepting of you each are. Don't talk down to each other. While you may each have different roles within the marriage, neither one of you is more important than the other.
Love. As the old saying goes, "Love conquers all". When you have love, you can live with the other things not being what they should be. However, there can be a problem when only one of you are in love. This puts things too far out of balance, and means it will be harder to work things out. But as long as the feelings of love are mutual, there are no other requirements of marriage that really matter.
They may feel somewhat embarrassed, but at least they are doing something. On the other hand, some people will choose to pretend none of these things are happening, or they will ignore them in the hopes they will go away on their own; the last thing they want to do is confront their spouse.
That's one of the great things about books on marriage. They can help you to make your marriage better, but you can also read them privately. This means you can do things to improve your situation without necessarily having to confront your spouse.
Okay, that's all well and good, but at some point you are going to have to discuss your problems. Again, marriage books can be a wonderful resource. They can show you how to talk about the tough subjects. And if you want to make it even easier, you can give your spouse the same book to read, and then let them know you would be interested in hearing their thoughts about it. This is a great way to break the ice, and is also a non-threatening way to do it.
When you read a book on marriage, take what you can from it. You may not agree with all of the ideas, or they may not fit your specific situation. No problem. Just use the parts of the book that will help. Nobody will hold it against you, trust me. What counts is that you are willing to at least do something.
If you have sent any time looking for books on marriage, you have probably noticed that there is a nearly endless number of titles available. However, not all titles are created equally. The first thing you should look for is that the author has a good reputation. You want to be sure the person giving you advice on something as important as your marriage is qualified to do so.
When considering books on marriage read the back cover and inside flaps to get an idea of the author's credentials. You will also want to try to get a feel for their writing style to see if it will resonate with you. Another thing you can do is go online and read reviews of any marriage books you are thinking about getting. However, don't read the professional reviews, instead, look for reviews written by normal people. They will tell it like it is, and often share stories about how the book worked for them.
Just what are these marriage retreats? They are basically a weekend or week away from home, where you spend time with other couples and relationship experts to work towards a better marriage. There will normally be some structured time along with periods of free time where you can reconnect with one another in a more personal setting.
One of the things that makes a marriage retreat so different is that it is held outside of your home. This location helps you to focus on the things you need to focus on. You are too entrenched in your daily routine when you are at home. Life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of the things that really matter. This can distract you from looking at your relationship to the extent that it is worthy of.
By getting away from it all, you can slow down and focus on the one thing you are at the retreat for, and that is to improve your marriage. The one thing you won't be doing is taking your relationship for granted. The truth is that a fair portion of the couples at the retreat have been taking each other for granted to some degree.
Another thing you should know is that marriage retreats are not only for those whose marriages are in deep trouble. They will certainly help the tougher cases, but they will also make good marriages even better. By going to a retreat you are showing each other that you are making the commitment to have a better relationship. This means you are already starting off on the right foot before the retreat even begins.
While you may normally have difficulty talking to each other about your marriage, you will quickly learn ho to feel at ease at a retreat. Yes, it may take a little bit of time to warm up to the idea, but it will happen. The people running the retreat are experts at getting couples to communicate. You can also be sure that they have seen situations like yours (or worse) many, many times before.
The whole key to getting the most out of marriage retreats is to participate as fully as you can. You will most likely feel awkward at first, but that's normal. Just keep doing your best and you will get up to speed in no time. It's okay to feel uncomfortable. After all, you are going to the retreat for a reason (as is every other couple that's there), so you may as well make the most of it.
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