By Louise Armstrong
As a young bride at 23 years of age, I had no idea what lay ahead, what marriage was really about or what to expect. I was young, innocent, and actually quite clueless so I wanted to share with you a few things that I would have done differently. It might just change how you see your relationship.
No one ever mentioned any of these things. What if they had? Perhaps I would have saved myself a lot of heartache. Now, 27 years and 3 children later, I can honestly say that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Long-term relationships are worth the effort and the heartache.
We all have problems. That’s life. It’s how we deal with them that counts and understanding why they happen in the first place is the key.
Here are five marriage mistakes I wish people had told me:
When we continually judge someone, what we’re really saying is their personality is the problem. We see flaws in them as people as opposed to what they are doing. I did this for years, causing argument after argument but if I had looked at myself first and found out how my husband Ian felt and what he needed, the whole situation would have been diffused.
Get to know your partner inside out and you’ll stop the judgment. Spend time with your partner; the better you get to know him, the deeper your relationship. It’s rare to be like this, I know, but it works.
2. Being defensive
Are you always on the defensive, always on the attack if you are criticized? Do you continually moan and whine? Do you just refuse to listen?
This is one of the biggest disasters for any relationship and I did it for years. I took every comment personally when in reality, it had nothing to do with ME as a person; it was about my behavior, which I could have learned from.
Even if your partner continually criticizes you, you can learn to accept the criticism, take responsibility for it, and even ask them to talk to you about it. This diffuses the whole situation and you can learn from it. Perhaps there are changes you could make in your life.
Try being positive to your partner in even the smallest of situations and the criticism won’t seem as bad, this really helps to build a relationship. Engage in conversation and notice the humor in situations.This is very powerful in relationship building.
3. Being condescending
This is the biggest issue of all. This is when you try to one up your partner, always putting them down, and making yourself look better. The real reason as to why you do this is because of your insecurities and not his.
Take a step back and start looking at yourself. Build your own self-esteem up and boost your self-worth. You’ll stop feeling inferior and putting him down.
Start acting like your partner is a hero. Start admiring him and start looking at his great qualities. You’ll be the winner here as this is key in any healthy long-term relationship.
4. Rebuffing your partner
You block him out, don’t speak to him, sulk, and shut him out of your life. This tells him is that you don’t care about him, and that’s not really what you mean.
Learn to talk to him and ask questions. Putting up blocks and expecting him to guess causes a larger divide between you. Write it down if it’s not clear but stop stonewalling him.
5. Focusing on the negative
Are you continually looking for the negative in your relationship, focusing on everything that’s going wrong, that you don’t like, that could be better, what others have and you don’t? This leads to real resentment.
Instead, learn about gratitude. Focus on the positive in your relationship and build on what you have. The negatives will start to seem insignificant.
Talk about your future in a positive way, what your dreams are, and what you would like to achieve together, not what you can’t have or can’t do.
I hope some of these help you, as they have been an incredible part of my life and the relationship I enjoy with Ian. Communication and having conversations are the key part in healthy relationship — focusing on how you start these conversations can change the whole relationship energy.
Relationships are a rollercoaster ride. They are all unique with their own formulas.
Louise Armstrong would love to hear what makes your tick. Join her fabulous Facebook group for women: Let’s Talk Relationships & Life. They’d love you to join them. Take the Relationship Quiz right here.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.
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