10 Practical Skills You Need to Have For a Successful Marriage
Marriage is for everyone. It is a beautiful, fulfilling, blessed union of two people. Unless you are blessed with the gift of celibacy, marriage is for you. If you are a descendant of Adam & Eve, God has created someone especially for you! The question is are you ready for that special someone or have you already missed that special someone while messing around with someone who wasn't special? Relationships are not progressing toward marriage and marriages are failing because we don't know how to be successful at marriage. Marriage is tough because it is "On The Job Training." It is "On The Job Training" because we are not training ourselves before we get married. While dating, we are supposed to be developing and practicing the skills that we will need to be successful in marriage. But on the contrary, dating is most often the thing that prevents marriages from being successful. Too often, we are trying to compare our dating life to our married life. They don't compare. When dating you don't have to compromise or negotiate--when you are unhappy, you can bounce. Marriage is harder, but when successful you will be happier. The benefits include a happy husband, a happy wife, the trust, the respect, the stability, the support, the unconditional love, the guilt-free sex, the life-long companionship, the knowledge that without a shadow of a doubt, when all else fails, this one person has your back. Doesn't that sound good?
In honor of Black Marriage Day, coming up on Sunday, March 28,I have provided 10 practical skills you need to have in order to be successful at marriage. Build them, grow them, borrow them, do whatever you have to do to obtain these skills before you get married. If you are already married, then you've got some "On The Job Training" to do!
10. Problem-Solving Skills
The skill of problem-solving may be the most important on this list, but I wanted to start here because if you don't have this one, it doesn't matter if you have all of the other ones. The lack of problem-solving skill development is the number one reason why the first two years of marriage are so difficult. During your first two years of marriage you and your mate are trying to match each other's approach to problem solving. You are finding out that with your spouse, you can only get it your way half of the time. Problem solving skills are about knowing when to fight, when not to fight, when to give, when to take and when to squash it.
9. Putting Your Spouse First Skills
Well, first after God, but way, way, way before kids or your job or your momma or your daddy or your friends or Xbox or Wii or PlayStation or the Cowboys or the Lakers or Oprah or anything else that you can think of. God--First. Spouse--Second. Kids--Third. My son is a handsome young man, but I know that I've got a couple more of those left in me. My woman is the only one for me. On her bad days, when she probably should come in last, she is still first because I always want to be first on her list of things to do.
8. Life Skills
It is important that each spouse is not only working for today but also planning for tomorrow for the other spouse. "What can I do today that would make me a better man or husband tomorrow?" "What can I do to still be attractive to my husband five years from now?" "Should I go back to school?" "Should I start my own business?" "How can I show my spouse my support in his endeavors?" Eat right, be healthy, live long, plan financially, save, Handle yo business! be a partner!
7. Forgiveness Skills
While dating, you don't have to forgive, you can choose to forget him. You can poof him (Be gone sucka) away. But in order to be successful at marriage, not only do you have to be able to forgive, you have to be able to forgive right now. Your spouse does something wrong. He apologizes. He is not perfect and you are not perfect. Get help if necessary. The moment that you can't forgive is the moment that your relationship stops growing. You cannot do anything without forgiveness. If you cannot forgive, stay single.
6. Creativity Skills
It is marriage. We live together. We see each other every day. It can easily become monotonous. Occasionally, on a Tuesday, or any other regular day, challenge yourself to come up with something fun to do, even if it's only for a few minutes. Play Frisbee, Uno, Two Person Spades, Jenga, Twister. Go on a picnic, a walk, a ride. Take your man to a high school football game. Take your woman to see a play. Enjoy each other's company. Have some freakin' fun!
5. Focus Skills
Don't have too much fun. Bring it down a notch. Balance is the key. Learn to focus on the positive characteristics in your spouse. There are some things that you absolutely love about him. There are some things that you may hate about him. The good outweighs the bad or you would not have married him. Focus on the things that brought the two of you together. When you point one finger at your spouse, you point four back at yourself.
4. Confidence Skills
You have to believe that your marriage will never fail and that divorce is not an option. You have to be confident that your spouse loves you as much as you love him. Sometimes he may not show it, so you have to know it, you have to believe it. You both have to be confident beyond a shadow of a doubt that each person will keep all of the promises that they made to you. You cannot be sidetracked or shaken by every bump in the road. The confidence of one spouse could rub off on the other spouse and before you know it, the marriage is back on track.
3. Learning Skills
At some point in the marriage we think we know our spouse, but then they change and grow. She is not the same woman she was when she was 28. He is not the same man he was when he was 32. This is not a reason to get a divorce. You should always be willing to learn and re-learn your spouse. Everything else in life changes and evolves, why can't your spouse? If you are not willing to re-learn the person that you are married to, they should not have married you (Meaning that you are not qualified for marriage)!
2. Perception Skills
I'm not talking about your perception skills. I am talking about you taking notice of the way in which the world perceives you. Look married! The perception that I always want to give off is that I am a happily married man. It is important to me that I make my wife look good. It is important to me that my wife makes me look good. I am not talking about fake, smiling in yo face folks, that doesn't count. My wife and I work on things at home so that when we are on the road, it is easy to look and be what we are. If I look or act like I am not married, sooner or later that is going to catch up with me. This is not something that you want to turn on and off. You should always be in touch with what you look like to other people.
1. Fighting Skills
Some days you don't feel like all that stuff above. But when you fight, fight fair. Fight with a purpose. Make sure that you are fighting for something. Fights are not long. Not hours. Fighting for hours is played out. Make your point or your 2-3 points and keep it moving. Your spouse may not agree, but he hears you, and if he loves you, he will do what he can to make you happy. If you fight dirty, I am not doing whatever it is that you want me to do and that's on GP. If you come at me with a smidget of bass in your voice, but you are respectful and you are right, I might ride with you. But if I am wrong and you come at me sideways, whatever I did to tick you off, I am going to do that again.
The Last Word
On Black Marriage Day, March 28th, forward this article to your married friends and wish them well! If you are not married, take this list and grade yourself. Are you ready for marriage?
Steven James Dixon is the author of the sure fire conversation starter "Men Don't Heal, We Ho," a book about the emotional instability in men.
Today, he co-hosts the "Adult Conversation" on the Doug Banks Show at 2 p.m. CT. You can also catch him talking with Twanda Black, host of "Business in the Black," this Sunday March 28th at 6 .a.m on KISS 104.1 FM in Atlanta. You can listen online at kiss1041fm.com