Friday, February 21, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: 'Relationship Advice from the 1950s That Amazingly Still Applies'
I'm at a place in my own spiritual walk where I'm starting to believe that "old-fashioned" and "legalistic", for many people, is just a way of saying "I don't want to honor values that will make my life better."
Yeah...but that's probably more of a devotional thought than a post for here. ;-)
For now, I wanted to share some points from an article that I read on relationship advice that was given well over 50 years ago that yes, if you desire a healthy relationship, I discern still applies. Here are the stellar points below:
Say It Once, Then Forget It
When I first read those lines, I thought: “Now, Dorothy, infidelity is taking it a bit too far. Even you knew that when you wrote that line, didn’t you?” But then I came across this Wall Street Journal story from 2012 that found that nagging is more common than adultery and just as toxic. According to Carnegie, belittling, complaining, whining, comparing, and sneering are all forms of mental cruelty. To cure it, she suggests you ask your spouse to point it out whenever you nag. In other words, ask your spouse to nag you about your nagging. She also suggests you adopt the rule: Say it once, and then forget it. It’s easier said than done, of course, but it gets easier over time. Trust me. I know. I’m a recovering nagger.
Develop a Glamour Personality
Don’t get hung up on the size 14 part. Women in the 1950s were rounder than the sex symbols of today, and the obesity epidemic has also led to rampant vanity sizing. Yesterday’s size 14 is probably today’s size 8 or 10. And, sure, it’d be nice if that came back into style. But that’s not the point. The art of pleasing your husband, Carnegie says, lies in being pleasant. Remember the little things that bring him happiness, she says. For instance, I make sure to notice the small things my husband does around the house. You would not believe how excited I can get about a new light bulb.
Don’t Be a Golf Widow
Lots of research supports this tip. So many couples complain that they have nothing in common. If that’s the case, be adaptable, open-minded, and daring. Try some of the hobbies and activities he loves, and vice versa.
See the Man You Want Him to Become
When I was working on my own marriage, this advice was front of mind. Act happily married and you’ll become happily married. Do what happily married people do and, soon enough, your unhappiness will disappear. And what is it that happily married people do? Be kind. Be thankful. Be affectionate. Be generous. Be encouraging.
Cultivate the Seeds of Happiness
One of the biggest lessons conveyed by the documentary Happy is this: Money, things, and prestige do not lead to happiness. Positive psychologists have many studies that show that giving makes us happier than getting, that complimenting someone else makes us happier than having someone tell us we’ve done a good job, and so on. So rather than a relentless push for more, bigger, and better, consider looking inside at the true sources of your unhappiness. Often discontent grows from the seeds of miserliness, close-mindedness, and meanness. One easy way to cultivate the seeds of happiness is this: Write down three things you are grateful for every day.
Be Thankful for Daily Love
Keep an appreciation journal, and write three new things in it each day. This will keep you on the look out for new things to admire about your spouse, and you’ll be a lot less likely to take things for granted.
Give x 100, and Then Give Some More
Give compliments. Give smiles. Give hugs. Give enthusiasm. Give understanding. Give support. Give happiness.
Spread What You Want to Receive
This is just one of those karmic quirks of life and marriage. A marriage is a system of related parts. You change one part of the system and the rest of the system must adapt. If you become happier, your spouse will become happier by default. If your spouse becomes happier, he’ll return that happiness to you. Grumpiness spreads like the flu virus in the middle of winter, and so does happiness. Which would you rather spread through your house?
Make Your House a Home
Well, let’s just say that I’ve never once gotten bogged down in the endless routine of housekeeping. But I have watched a dear friend follow around party guests with a little dustpan, sweeping up all the crumbs that happen to fall from their plates. I once watched as another friend grabbed dishes from the table before most of the guests were done eating, and then made a big flurry in the kitchen as she began washing and violently cleaning. Both friends have immaculate houses, but they seem particularly unhappy, and their marriages are a bit frosty, too.
Let Go of the Small Stuff
I don’t know about you, but I love the word “trifle,” and whenever I find myself obsessing over how my husband could not possibly see the sheet of dust on the television he watches so much, I’m going to tell myself not to get “upset over trifles.”
Can You Hear Him Now?
I can’t tell you how many arguments I could have avoided had I merely done one thing: shut up and listen. How about you? Carnegie says a good listener listens with her whole body, looks at her partner as he’s talking, leans forward slightly, and reacts with authentic facial expressions. Express alertness through your body language, she advises, and never betray his confidence.
Great stuff. That nagging one is a winner, for real! (Proverbs 21:9-Message)
Gonna pass it along to some *wives* that I know...hmph. (LOL)