We spend our entire life being groomed to someday find that perfect man/ woman.
As little girls we imagine our dream wedding, I even cut out magazine clippings of the perfect wedding dress, my flowers, my dream cake, my wedding colors and the perfect wedding ring.
We stress over our figures, always dieting to be as attractive as we possibly can be in order to catch our Prince Charming's eye when he comes along. Making sure our make up is flawless, our hair is perfect, and always after that perfect model skin.
We've learned how to get our body language just right, how to flirt just enough to get his attention, but not to much that there isn't any mystery to keep him interested.
Men, have learned to be as masculine as they can, playing sports, working out, walking around without their shirts on to make sure they catch our attention with their inevitable six pack. Showing off for the girls, and yes we watch! Learning how to shower their girlfriends with gifts wondering if she is the one.
We have invested so much of our lives in catching that "Perfect" person, no one told us what to do once we found them. After walking down that isle and parenthood has come into the picture. We assume we are secure/ stable, we have accomplished our goal of marriage and having children, but we were not groomed on how to keep our marriage going strong, so many of us fall into the unwanted trap of playing house and pretending we are a perfect couple, by substituting happiness with materialistic things. We have put a value on love, marriage, and family with statue: the neighborhood we live in, the house we own, the schools our children attend, the cars we drive, how many activities we can do in one week, how many promotions we are given. We become so caught up in the everyday living of society, that we forget the simple thing that brought us together in the first place. Love, laughter and simply living for one another.
It is too easy to become a statistic in society with divorce rising and a two-parent household becoming the minority. So I have put together a list of ways to hold on to your spouse and marriage. This is purely my opinion based on my own personal experiences and you are entitled to agree or not agree.
"Real giving is when we give to our spouses what's important to them, whether we understand it, like it, agree with it, or not." Michele Weiner-DavisMy advice for Woman in keeping your man:
1. Don't stop putting on your makeup and taking care of yourself. Just because he walked down the isle with you doesn't mean you need to stop investing time in keeping him attracted to you. Take pride in yourself and in how you look, when you feel good about yourself, he remains attracted to you.
2. Don't stop cooking him dinner. Cook for him like you did when you wanted to impress him in the beginning of your relationship. I know woman work just as hard as the man, but sometimes something as simple as making him dinner can show him you appreciate his hard work. He may even surprise you with dinner when you come home from work, because he wants to show you he cares too. It's the simple deeds that go along ways in a marriage and pretty soon you find both of you are wanting to make one another happy all the time.
3. Don't become resentful when you have to take care of the kids, work, cook, clean and be wife, mother, doctor, housemaid, and chauffeur. Remember, it's a maternal instinct to want to be "Superwoman" and you can't resent him for not wanting to be "Superman." A man often believes if he can work to pay the bills and provide for his family he has accomplished his goal. It doesn't mean he loves you any less.
4. Be willing to share the TV and watch his sports. Invite people over(your friends and his) for Sporting events to make it fun for you, make up games to go with the sporting event and you soon find you have another thing in common to share with one another instead of nagging over him always watching sports. The things you dislike about him, find a way to make it interesting to you, don't make it about him, you might just discover you are enjoying the things you didn't like. Soon, he may surprise you with watching one of those "girly" movies we know all men hate to watch, but he will do it for you.
5. Don't get mad when he leaves the toilet seat up! You can only yell at him so much about it before you realize he isn't going to stop. You can approach this in one or two ways. Learn to quietly put the toilet seat down when you go to use the bathroom and don't expect him to change, or put saran wrap on the seat without saying a word and the next time he goes I'm sure he will never forget to put the toilet seat down again. Warning on the second option, he may play dirty back so you are warned, but he will remember to put the seat down!
6. Never go to bed mad! If you are having an argument and you do not resolve it right away it's easy to ignore one another and go to bed mad without anything ever being resolved, then you become bitter and resentful when he goes on about his daily routine the following day and thinks everything is over. It's best to resolve arguments before going to bed. It's not good to fall asleep with all that anger. At the beginning of everyday and at the end of everyday take time to yourselves to remember why you are married. Guys don't hold onto things like us woman do. He will wake up and think everything is ok and not realize you are still mad, then you start the argument up all over again. It is better to resolve it in the first place and not allow it to carry out from day to day. Once you have finished the argument, let it go. Don't continue to bring up the same issue from day to day. As woman we seem to hold grudges more than men do. We will remember something they said 5 years ago and still hold it against them, when men barely remember what they did yesterday. Be forgiving!
7. Keep a journal. When you find it hard to remember why you are married you can revisit entries that will remind you why you fell in love, and what it was about this person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. Always write Pro's and Con's. They will change over the years, as people change and mature, but as long as your Pro's outweigh the Con's you are still on the right track.
8. Don't expect things to be perfect! No one is perfect. when your spouse goes through changes accept his changes (as long as they are not harmful!). Your spouse will change over the years as they reach different maturity levels with age and as life events happen it will change a person. The best advice I was given early in my marriage was when someone said to me, " you can leave and find someone else, but he will have problems too (could be a different set of problems). Nobody is perfect. You need to decide what set of problems you are willing to live with, and what set of problems you are not willing to live with. Set boundaries, if your spouse hasn't crossed those boundaries, then be willing to deal with whatever his problems may be and accept him for who he is."
9. Never forget your vows! They are not merely words to say in a ceremony, but words to live by throughout your marriage.
10. Be true to yourself. Never forget who you are! That is who he fell in love with in the first place. Don't become somebody he didn't fall in love with. Be the best mother you can be to your(his) children. Be the best woman you know how to be and true to your heart and you will always be the woman your husband married. He will fall in love with you all over again everyday.
My advice for men to keep your woman:
1. Love her, Honor her. She is the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with and the person you chose to be the mother of your children.
2. Don't allow your pride to get the best of you when times are hard. Your pride can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Allow yourself to be humbled. There is nothing a woman loves more than a man who can cry. It doesn't mean you are weak, but that you are human. Allow your spouse to be your strength, as you are hers.
3. Don't become so caught up in your career, that you forget why you are working in the first place. There is nothing more lonely than coming home to an empty house. No money in the world is worth losing a wife and family over. Make sure you have time for your loved ones.
4. Don't only be in the marriage physically, but remember to be there emotionally too. Don't allow yourself to become roommates, you need to remember why you wanted to marry her and never let that passion die. Remember to make her feel as important to you as she did the day you married her every day of your married lives. If you do this there isn't anything she won't do to make you happy.
5. Show your spouse respect. Your children our learning what kind of man to be and/or what kind of man to marry by watching how you treat their mother. Don't become chauvinistic and get into the boy/girl role. Take equal part in caring for the children and home. You will find your spouse will want to do more for you.
6. Be willing to spend time with your family and do the silly things you think are a waste of time. Remember you are making memories and someday you will be happy you have them to cherish. No one lives forever cherish every moment you have together as if it's your last day.
7. Be her strength, provide her with stability and spirituality. No woman wants to feel like she has to be your mother too. Remember she married you to be your companion and to be your wife. Allow her to be that. Don't put her in a situation she feels she can't and then get mad at her when she is nagging.
8. When things go wrong include her! Men are famous for wanting to fix things alone. Remember you are married. Life isn't just about you. Marriage is a "WE" you are not married to yourself. Include each other in all decisions of your married life. Marriage, work, religion, children, nothing is one sided it takes two to be successful in marriage.
9. Be honest! Don't think withholding information isn't lying it's just as bad. No marriage can survive secrets or lies. This goes for woman too!
10. Be her best friend. Listen to her without expecting to fix the problem. Sometimes a woman just needs someone to listen and know they are there for her unconditionally. Bring her flowers for no reason. You would be surprised how many points you will gain and how much more we want to make you happy when you do surprising, sporadic things for us just because you wanted too.
Finally for both partners:
Be the kind of person when you are apart you will be missed and the other person can't stop thinking of you, and when you are together they are excited to see you.
I hope my advice has helped you. I would love to hear what has worked for you in your marriage so feel free in sharing.
I know that everyone at some point in their marriage questions wether they made the right choice. I found this saying below during a time in my life when I was questioning my decision in who I married. I love this authors philosophy. Once I started looking at life in this point of view I became a happier person and my marriage became a happier one. So I will end with this saying:
"I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I'll be the first to admit that it's possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you." Zig Ziglar