“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” – Fawn Weaver
Walking down the aisle and getting hitched can be one of the greatest moments of your life. But love is not enough to make a marriage last. You need to work to make it work or you’ll end up getting divorced. Sadly, no one tells us what we need to know, understand and do to make a marriage last and build a loving lasting relationship.
Here’s an honest letter every father should write to their son when they’re getting married.
I’m a man who is in the business of providing relationship advice for men. I encourage and lead other men to improve their intimate relationships. The path I’ve taken to this place has been rocky – and I’ve learned things. My clients and I share a history of spending our early years struggling to know ourselves AND the women in our lives.
I never received a letter from my dad giving me the “Top Secret” information I would need to succeed in my intimate relationships with women. Most men never do. My rocky ride has since smoothed out mostly because of what I’ve learned along the way. I don’t begrudge my dad for not telling me sooner. He did the best he could do and I will always appreciate how hard he worked for me.
Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning.” – Esther Perel
Dear Son, 5 Secrets I Wish I Knew Before Marriage
As your wedding day approaches, I want to give you 5 THINGS to keep close to your heart in your marriage. I didn’t learn these lessons before it was too late for me. Do not make the same mistakes I did!
Before I give them to you, please understand these truths without any self-doubt. KNOW you are worthy of love. KNOW you deserve a life of love, inspiration, and passion. KNOW there will be ups and downs and to expect and embrace them.
And, KNOW that you always have the power to CHOOSE to create good feelings for other people instead of bad ones.
5 secrets to have a happy marriage:
1) She can FEEL your intentions
Your wife has a very special ability to sense negative energy and pressure. She can’t “read your mind”, but she “feels your love”. This “intuition” is widely documented, though many women don’t even trust it themselves. But they WILL react to it. We, men, are so simple, so direct, so “what you see is what you get”. This is why we stink at reading between the lines and taking hints.
This is also why we stink at truly understanding the avalanche of emotions we can cause in our women without even knowing it. It’s obvious that your angry toned, table-pounding, perfectly logical argument will ruffle emotional feathers. What’s NOT obvious is how she FEELS your intentions. Even without a word, if your energy oozes the least bit of resentment, condescension, or judgment – YOU have already declared war. And yes, it’s your fault. Sorry.
The GOOD NEWS is that your wife feels positive intention the exact same way. Positive intention means positive energy which means everything you say and do is coming from a different place – a place of love. Instead of judgment, your intention is acceptance. Instead condescension, your intention is respect. You get the idea. It MUST be true. You MUST be authentic. The results you will see in the tone of your conversations are absolutely mind-blowing! But YOU have to GO FIRST.
I can hear all of your “yeah but” arguments now and already call “bullshit”. There IS a way for you to take more ownership of your energy. You can’t own her reaction or her happiness, but you can do better, BE better – if you WANT to!
2) Don’t ever think she is NOT a sexual woman
If you ever decide your wife is simply not sexual, not physically affectionate, or EVER aroused – you’re wrong. Just like you, she is designed for sexual arousal and sexual pleasure. That’s about where the similarities end.
She DOES think about sex. She DOES have fantasies. She DOES get aroused. But, if your marriage has tensions, she just doesn’t have YOU in mind.
Sex is not a guaranteed fringe benefit of marriage.
Don’t let “life” numb your awareness of your responsibility. Sex is not a guaranteed fringe benefit of marriage. Sex is the result of an age-old cycle of attraction, flirtation, and foreplay. And that’s really all she wants. If you lose this recipe she can easily imagine it with someone else. Women simply will not have sex with someone they don’t feel attracted to.
“Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex. For men, sex is the connection.” – Esther Perel
The keyword to remember is ATTRACTION. Without this, flirting and foreplay are a complete waste of time unless you’ve pushed so hard you wind up with “obligation sex” – the worst possible type! I don’t want that for you.
The most important thing to know about attraction is that it will not happen in an environment of bad feelings. You have the ability to create feelings of attraction – or not. This ability will come from you KNOWING who you are, what you believe in, and the direction you’re going in life. Attracting her to join you means always respecting her and supporting her need to do the same for herself. You are neither superior nor inferior to her. Help her feel that in her heart every day.
While you are not in charge of her moods or behavior, you need to be aware of how you may be involved in her reactions toward you. Becoming attractive to her may involve reversing some damage you unknowingly inflicted. If you have been argumentative, dismissive, resentful, negative, or critical you ARE in charge of that and need to get to work. Why?
Because fixing THAT stuff is important for WHATEVER goals you have in life. If you decide to fix that stuff JUST TO GET SEX she will know it in an instant! Yes, she really is THAT good. A man who is willing to resort to “stuff” to earn sex is seen and FELT as tremendously non-masculine to a woman.
3) She has no choice but to LEAD if you’re not trying
By “lead”, I mean being the one who chooses to OWN your part in the marriage and the household. So many men will complain about their “bossy wife” or their “nagging wife” or their “disrespectful” wife. Why? …because they deserve it.
Your wife will rightfully expect and appreciate some leadership from you! Leadership is an important part of the attraction formula. Many men allow their women to lead everything:
- the kid department,
- the laundry department,
- the meal department,
- the cleaning department,
- the relationship department,
- and even the SEX department!
It’s no wonder these guys find themselves begging for morsels of respect and physical affection. They don’t deserve it. You see, the type of leadership I’m talking about is really about your ownership of some of the departments.
Taking responsibility and following through is absolutely SEXY. Establishing your personal values for what you’re in charge of is SEXY. Playing your role in keeping the relationship loving, respectful and fun is SEXY.
This type of leadership will finally allow her to feel safe, trusting, and relaxed because YOU have stepped up. A woman lucky enough to have a man like this doesn’t have to resort to nagging or bossing. With the right level of leadership, she will respect you, partner with you and be proud of you.
4) She expects you to understand how to help her feel safe emotionally
For both men and women, Emotional Safety simply means that our emotions are not judged and not subject to debate. It means that emotions are respected for being real and important exactly as they are felt. It means the environment is safe for sharing and discussing our feelings.
Emotions are not supposed to make sense or be logical. THINK before you say, “Well, you shouldn’t feel that way.”
When a woman says, “I hate it every time you lose your temper. It makes me feel, I don’t know, I just hate it!” What she’s trying to say is that “You have the ability to either make me feel good or bad, and you are choosing to make me feel bad.” And THAT choice of yours speaks volumes to her about your concern and respect for her. And it never helps to tell her, “It has nothing to do with you. You shouldn’t feel that way.” Trust me on that one.
If a man chooses to create an environment of emotional safety, he is choosing to understand what behaviors of his can allow that to happen. He is choosing to make changes in how he responds to his wife’s emotions. He learns the power of a masculine response over a boyish reaction.
“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.” – Barbara De Angelis
5) She picked you for a reason
She is attracted to you. She thinks you are funny. She laughs at your jokes. She loves making love to you. She trusts you and respects you. She is proud of you.
Don’t screw this up. She loves who you are now. But, you have a lot of growing to do still.
Within the first few years of marriage, many men lose sight of who they are and why they picked her. They can grow impatient, critical, and judgmental. These negative emotions start in very subtle ways during seemingly inconsequential events.
If you’re not careful, those events will lead to bigger events and soon you may find that her trust, respect, and attraction for you has faded away.
Be the man she married. Be the man she needs. Be the man who is better than trying to “get even” by creating bad feelings in her just because you’re feeling bad.
Love her. Give to her without expecting something back. Respect her words and her dreams without judgment.
Talk to her. Be open. Be vulnerable. Let her understand you and your fears. Cry with her.
But don’t stop leading! Lead YOURSELF first so you can lead her to a stronger marriage.
Accept responsibility. Expect more from yourself. Surround yourself with other good men like you who are on the same path.
I’m one of those men and I’ll always be with you – for the rest of your life.
Here’s an interesting video that you may find helpful:
“Marriage is one of the few institutions that allow a man to do as his wife pleases.” – Milton Berle
Love is a magical feeling. When you fall in love with someone, you know instantly that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. But the thing is that love doesn’t last forever. Just like we fall in love, we can fall out of love. So it takes a lot more than mere love to make a marriage last.
It requires that you fall in love several times with the same person. The person you chose to marry. It requires you love them even when you don’t like them. You love them even when you don’t want to. Even when they make it really hard for you to love them. To stay with them.
But that’s how it works. That’s what makes them so special.
That’s what makes her your wife.
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