Common Mistakes Women Make in a Marriage

Common Mistakes Women Make in a Marriage

What is it about the whole “blame game”? It’s so easy to fall into this destructive habit and often as women and wives we can find ourselves pointing fingers even with our eyes closed. But if we just take a moment to think carefully and to be really honest, we will soon see that as wives we make mistakes too. Here are some of the most frequent ones:

1. Giving the children first place

We all adore our children; that’s clear. But there can be a problem when hubby gets pushed aside in favor of the little ones. It won’t be long before he gets the message that he’s just not as important anymore if you consistently choose to spend time and energy on the children, putting their needs over his and your own. Remember, in a few short years the children will be grown and fly out of the nest and then you and your husband will be alone together again.

2. Seeing your husband as another child

A small step further down the slope from putting children first is treating your husband as another child. Nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe this makes you feel like “supermom” but it is very disrespectful towards the man who in fact fathered your children. No matter how much your husband’s parenting skills may be lacking in your opinion, seeing him as your second or third child is not going to improve matters at all. Sometimes the shoe can be on the other foot and the wife is treated by her husband like another child in the home. This is usually a sign of abuse and unless resolved usually ends unhappily.

3. Not setting boundaries with in-laws

In-laws are a controversial topic at the best of times. If firm boundaries are not set right from the start, untold havoc can be wrecked in a marriage. Remember, first and foremost you married each other and not each other’s families. Yes, families and parents will always have an extremely important role in our lives, but they also have their place and should not be allowed to come in and encroach on areas of privacy and decision-making which should belong to the couple alone.

4. Not learning to fight correctly

Lack of conflict resolution skills is perhaps one of the number one reasons for the disintegration of marriages. Whether it is stonewalling or yelling uncontrollably or both, these kinds of behaviour can be extremely corrosive to any marriage. Learning to fight right is a skill that needs to be honed with commitment and determination if you want your marriage to thrive. It requires time, effort and willingness on both sides to sit and talk through difficulties, with respect and love.

5. Needing to be in control

This is a tough one – who’s the boss?! Often it’s the little everyday things (as well as the bigger things) where we women often seem to need that last word. Why is it so hard to admit when he may have a better idea? If we would just step back and allow that man we married to make those wise decisions of which he is probably very capable we may be in for some pleasant surprises. It is worth remembering, marriage is not the place to compete, but rather to complete one another.

6. Not meeting intimacy needs

This can swing both ways, but generally as a wife there can be times in your marriage, especially with young children, when you feel pretty exhausted. The last thing you may feel like is making love, while for your husband it may quite likely be the first thing. Within reason, if this becomes a regular pattern of consistently not meeting his intimacy needs, it can mean a slow death for your marriage.

7. Not making an effort to look good

After several years of marriage, it can be easy to settle into a comfortable routine of just pulling on the first and easiest outfit, even staying in your pj’s all morning if you can. We all know that inner beauty is what counts most, but don’t underestimate the value of looking your best on the outside too. This is one more way of showing respect to the man you love, that you care enough to make yourself look pretty for him – and in most cases he is sure to appreciate it.

As you may notice, most of these mistakes described above involve “omissions” or good things we have not done, and then there are also “commissions” or hurtful things we have done. So yes, marriage is hard work and we need to constantly work on doing less of the harmful things, and more of the helpful. If ever there was a worthwhile reason for hard work, it’s marriage.

 

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Serena – The Succubus

This happened a few years ago. I met Serena on OkCupid. She was absolutely gorgeous. Our first date was nice but I’m convinced that she isn’t into me so I’m resigned to never seeing her again.

To my surprise, she wants to see me again.

Next date, I take her to this nice place and we have hors d’oeuvres and share a bottle of wine. She suggests we continue hanging out. I’m house and dog sitting for my friends and they have a pool table, so I suggest we go back there and have some more drinks and play pool.

She was a little spazzy and I was a little worried she’d had too much to drink, so I suggest we hang out awhile to sober up and she insists she’s fine and wants to go now so I have her follow me. She gets lost following me on the freeway, takes the wrong exit and we have a few phone calls and it takes her about 45 minutes to find my friend’s house.

She finally arrives. Great.

There’s good sexual tension and we’re getting along and having a great time. She suggests we go outside and smoke some pot she had brought with her. I tell her I’ll have a hit (I’m a lightweight when it comes to the stuff) but she can go right ahead.

This is where shit gets weird. I’ve never seen someone smoke themselves retarded faster or with such fervor. She just fully bakes out. Hit after hit after hit. The weird thing is that it makes her really argumentative and aggressive. She starts bashing “my place” and I have to keep reminding her that it’s my friend’s place. “These chairs are fucking ugly.” “Why is the deck shaped like this? It’s really stupid.”

Weird shit like that. I gently remind her again that it’s my friend’s place and I didn’t make the decisions.

She wants to play pool now. Oh boy. Maybe this will change the tone of things. She’s so high that she can’t hit the cue ball. She whiffs multiple times and grows increasingly agitated. I’m trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. My thoughts are racing. “Was that weed? Was it laced? Is she high on PCP or some shit? It tasted and smelled like weed. Am I going to get all crazy too? I feel fine, but she smoked a metric butt-ton of it.”
I try to bring it back to a positive place. I think it’ll be cute to try to get closer to her and help her hit the ball. Bad idea. She wants to do it herself.

“Back the fuck up! I can do it!”

Woah.

Okay, this date is screwed. She hates me now. Everything has taken a turn. I’ll just be cordial and kind and let her sober up a bit and we can get her on the road.

“Let’s watch TV.” She says.

Okay. I turn the TV on for her. She starts bitching that I don’t have any of the channels she likes. Why don’t I have them? I remind her again that it’s my friend’s place. She seems really agitated. Then she’s suddenly on me like a facehugger. She’s furiously making out with me. Whichever Lovecraftian horror has possessed her obviously needs my seed to make the anti-christ. I am completely confused by everything.

She asks to see my room. I tell her that I have no room, I remind her AGAIN that this is my friend’s place. She wanders off down the hall and finds the guest room which has a futon.

“Why don’t you have a real bed?”

“Not my place. My friend’s place.”

“I think it’s really weird you don’t have a bed.”

She mentions the futon a few more times in case I missed it.

I excuse myself to use the bathroom. What I’m actually doing is staring at myself in the mirror asking what the fuck is going on. I have entered the Outer Limits. Neither the horizontal, nor the vertical, are under my control any longer. (Google it millennials) What is she on? Should I ask her to leave? She’s SO attractive but this is not going well. Maybe I should ask her for more of her weed and she and I can succumb to the darkness together, and we can burn this motherfucker down.

My dick and my brain are at war. Both mean serious business.

I exit the bathroom and return to the living room.

She’s butt naked sitting on the couch watching TV. I don’t see her clothes anywhere. She’s acting like this is perfectly normal. Unfortunately, she’s a sight to behold. Perfection in human form. Her dark hair snakes down her back (I’m pretty sure I see it move of its own volition), her pink nipples glow in the light of the TV and the electric power of the palpable crazy. She’s like some dark succubus from an evil, yet sensual dimension.
My brain is fighting the good fight, but my dick is winning. This girl just dropped the A-bomb on me.

At possibly the furthest from my finest hour ever, my brain loses. I allow myself to fully give in to her crazy embrace. I carry her writhing form as she licks my neck and ears and face as though she’s dedicated to finally knowing the timeless mystery of just how many licks it takes to get to the center of the tootsie pop, but instead the prize is my blood. Her hands are everywhere. I struggle to hold on as this many-armed Kali goddess touches every part of my body at once. Picture frames are thoroughly knocked off the wall, and we finally make it to the guest room and the despicable futon.

I go down on her and she bucks like a rodeo horse. She doesn’t want that, she explains. She wants one thing, and she wants it hard. During our sexual rendezvous she continues to complain about the house and the futon. I’m growing irritated. She says she wants me to choke her and suddenly, a thought comes to me.

Is she purposefully trying to irritate me so that I fuck her in some violent and vengeful fashion?

If so, it has the opposite effect. I stop. My mind has cleared. What the fuck am I doing? What’s going on?

“What are you doing? Don’t stop! Fuck me!”

I ask her to stop complaining about the bed. It’s out of my control. I try to reel things back in. I try to slow things down, maybe connect with this stranger I’m naked with. It’s a little too late for that. She tells me so. She asks me again why I don’t have a real bed.

Something gives. I don’t know if she’s been trying to manipulate me into hating her, if she’s on something that has removed her ability to be in control of herself, or if truly the futon is the worst thing that has ever existed.

Either way. I’m done. I can’t go on.

I stop the crazy sexual olympics we’re engaged in and I tell her that I don’t feel comfortable continuing. She’s up and off the futon in a flash, like a martial artist kipping up from a sweep. She begins to furiously get dressed.

Ah. Her clothes were in here. She took them off in here. In preparation?
She seems more lucid now than she has for the last hour. She decides she’s leaving and I walk her to the door. I’m feeling strange, I don’t know if I was manipulated, or disrespected. I don’t know what to feel. Irritated, a sarcastic quip escapes my mouth.
“Well this was so much fun. Next time maybe I can come over to your friend’s place and complain about all their stuff.”

The look on her face is pure rage.

“YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO COMPLAIN. BECAUSE THEY HAVE A BED!”

I usher her out the door. I close and quickly lock it. I feel relief. I think maybe I just avoided being eaten by the devil. She sits in her vehicle in the driveway for 30 minutes. I peek out the blinds occasionally like a nosy grandmother to see if she’s gone. All she does is sit in her SUV and stare straight ahead. Probably trying to sober up, possibly trying to decide if she wanted to drive through the garage door.

EPILOGUE: I felt guilty about the whole thing. I decided to message her later and ask her what happened, and apologized for the way we left. She actually messaged back and apologized and said something about sometimes people just don’t work out. I wondered how much of that night she remembered.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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7 Things You Should Never Feel Obligated to Do in a Relationship

If you’re in a relationship, it’s pretty easy to assume that you genuinely want to be a good girlfriend.

No one enters into a relationship hoping to be mediocre, so it’s understandable that you want to do everything in your power to make your significant other happy.

Cher and Christian From Clueless

(Clueless via Paramount Pictures)
However, sometimes the desire to be the perfect shoulder to lean on for your S.O. can leave you feeling pressured to do things that leave you feeling uncomfortable. As fun as relationships might be, it’s also important that you stay true to yourself and shy away from anyone who would push you too far out of your comfort zone.

We’ve definitely been there, and we’re here to help! Keep scrolling for seven things you should never feel obligated to do in a relationship.

 

Hang Out With Them at All Times
Being in a relationship is fun and exciting for many reasons, including having a built-in buddy to hang with pretty much whenever you want. As enjoyable as it might be to spend time with your S.O., you should never feel like you have to spend all your time with them. Other activities and other people are going to demand your attention, and you should be able to participate in other aspects of life without feeling guilty that your S.O. can’t be included in every second of your day. If your S.O. is pressuring you to spend every spare moment by their side, it might be time to say goodbye and search for someone who understands that there is more to your life than your romantic relationship.

 

Sacrifice a Hobby For Them
Hobbies are such a crucial part of what makes you unique and special. They are not only how you to choose to spend your free time, but they are also the source of many friendships and important relationships. Therefore, you should be searching for an S.O. who supports the things you love and would never ask you to give them up. There are many reasons you may feel pressured to give up your favorite activities. Maybe your S.O. thinks dance is boring, or maybe they’re upset that you’re spending all your time at soccer practice. Whatever the reasoning might be, you should never feel like you have to give up something you love to maintain your relationship. Hobbies are part of what makes you so extraordinary, and if your S.O. can’t see that, then someone else will.

Spend Money on Them
Navigating the “who pays for who” battle in relationships is tricky, so it’s important to remember that this rule goes both ways. Treating your S.O. to a nice dinner or buying them a pricey birthday gift is a sweet gesture, but you should never feel like you have to spend money in order to make them happy, just as they should never feel obligated to spend money on you. If you have yet to receive your most recent paycheck or you’re feeling a little strapped for cash in general, it’s okay to explain to your S.O. that you need to take a step back from spending for a while. The amount of money you spend on each other says nothing about the overall state of your relationship. Be open and honest about your finances, and understand when one or both of you doesn’t feel comfortable spending at the moment.

 

Lie for Them
Sometimes it might feel like you and your S.O. are a single unit, unable to separate your individual actions from the other person. It’s true that your actions will have larger effects on each other when you’re dating, but you’re still very much your own people. If your S.O. has done something wrong and you’re aware of it, you should never feel like you have to lie to keep them out of trouble. If they choose to participate in something dishonest, they need to be willing to accept the consequences of their actions. Lying for them only means you’ll get caught up in their drama and open yourself up to punishment, as well. Let them handle their negative actions in their own way, and try to stay out of the crossfire.

 

Spend Time With Their Friends Who Make You Uncomfortable
Dating a new person usually means that your friend groups will start to overlap. While it might be nice to mix your lives and meet new people, you should never feel like you have to spend time with any of your S.O.’s friends who you don’t feel comfortable around. Maybe you just get an overall bad vibe from these people or maybe you’re aware that they’re involved in some not-so-savory activities—whatever the reason might be, you should trust your gut and remove yourself from that situation, no matter how close they might be to your significant other. If your partner truly cares about your feelings, they’ll understand. They might even take your worries to heart and reevaluate the people they spend their time with.

 

Do Their Chores For Them
Sometimes when you’re dating someone—especially if you’ve been dating for a long time—the expected roles for your relationship can get a little bit twisted. Helping your S.O. with their daily chores or tidying up their space as a kind gesture is a nice way to show that you care, but you should never feel like their duties are also your responsibility. If you find that your S.O. expects you to clean up after them or is constantly asking you to complete their assigned tasks, it’s a pretty clear sign that they’re not willing to take responsibility for their own burdens. It’s not your job to make sure they get their stuff done, and you shouldn’t feel like participating in their domestic duties is essential to a happy relationship.

 

Apologize For Them
Being in a relationship naturally means that people will associate you and your S.O. with each other in social settings. It can be pretty exciting to have a person, and you should embrace the fact that you are now connected on a deeper level. However, your S.O. is still responsible for their own behavior. If they are rude, short-tempered or abrupt in their social interactions, it’s not your responsibility to apologize for their bad behavior. If you’re constantly feeling like you have to provide excuses for your partner’s actions, it may be a sign that they are not quite mature enough for a relationship, considering they can’t even conduct a conversation without offending people.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am and 12pm EST.

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7 Things You Should NEVER Feel Bad About Doing in a Relationship

There are a ton of things you obviously shouldn’tdo, like cheating or ghosting. But there are also some things you may feel bad about doing that shouldn’t make you feel that way.

1. Defining Your Relationship

Defining your relationship is a pretty terrifying thing, but you deserve to know if you and your partner are on the same page. If they make you feel bad about doing this at any point in your relationship, you need to kick them to the curb. Its not only fair to you, but to them, that you determine where this is going before you realize youre both on very different pages when it comes to your relationship.

2. Not Constantly Texting Your S.O.

Theres this weird unspoken rule that if someone isnt texting you 24/7, theyre completely uninterested. But that definitely isnt the case. Sometimes you get busy or the conversation just dies on its own, so you shouldnt feel the need to constantly force a text exchange with your S.O. all the time. If you forget to text them back a couple of hours later or dont hit them up for a few days, thats fine. You dont need to smother them with messages. They arent going to assume youre suddenly done with them. And if they do, be honest with them about your texting style.

 

3. Spending Way More Time With Your Friends

Your friends were there for you before your S.O., and if the day comes, theyll be there for you after. Spending more time with your besties rather than your S.O. is not at all a bad thing. You still need to make time for your BFFs when youre in a relationship. More than likely, your S.O. will understand because theyll want to hang with their friends, too. But if they make you feel bad, tell them how it is.

Grown-ish on Freeform

4. Not Posting About Your Relationship on Social Media

Your relationship is your business and thats that. If you dont feel comfortable posting tons of snaps with your S.O. on Insta or raving about them on Twitter, you dont need to do it. Your S.O. can see this as you not wanting to tell anyone about them, but assure them this isnt the case. As long as theyve met your friends or family, theyll know that youre serious about this.

5. Disagreeing With Your S.O. About Anything

Arguments with your S.O. are bound to happen. As a matter of fact, a few minor squabbles are actually healthy for your relationship. It forces you to see each others perspectives and find a solution that isnt breaking up. So if you ever disagree with your partner about anything, dont be scared to speak up for yourself. The two of you will learn a lot about each other by doing just that. Your opinions about a topic are just as valid as theirs, so dont feel like you need to hide your sentiments if you disagree.

Cheryl kissing Archie on Riverdale

6. Expressing Your Feelings

It can be tough to express your feelings in a relationship, no matter what stage youre in. You dont want to come off a certain way, so you often think its best to hide them from your partner. You should never, ever feel bad about voicing your concerns about your relationship or how much youre in love with your S.O. However youre feeling, express that to your partner. We promise this will only strengthen your relationship, as the two of you learn to better communicate with one another.

 

7. Putting Yourself First

At the end of the day, you are your No. 1 priority. Yes, you want to always be there for your S.O., but your needs always come first. You should never feel bad for doing something that solely benefits your overall well-being, so long as its not at the expense of hurting your S.O. Your happiness is the most important thing, so dont you ever forget that.

everything-sucks-relatable-characters-articleH-022018

Was this helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

 

I’m inspired! See you all in 3 hours for my bonus post: 7 Things You Should Never Feel Obligated to Do in a Relationship

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am and 12pm EST.

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Cherie – Chapter 25 – Anything Goes

“Once she gets going, you only get a few hours of repose while the eye of Cherie’s hurricane passes over you. But then she returns. Gently caressing your back and arms. You slowly awaken, and the wind increases, and within a short time you are both back at it and the sex storm is back to full force.”

So last weekend, baby was sick and so was her son. She texted me that she wasn’t coming down Friday night because of all of that. She just couldn’t do it. I want her to be well, and I also don’t want to catch whatever she has. Oh, and it was also shark week. I swear this girl has more periods than a Hemingway novel!

So I was a little relieved that for the first time in a month, I could simply go home on a Friday night after working at the salon, and chill. I could sleep in, and take myself out to breakfast on Saturday. Nothing to do. Just quiet solitary bliss.

Which I got. So I figured that the next weekend, she’d be all better and I’d see her. But then I got a message from my buddy Duncan, that his flight was getting in on Friday of next week. There was no way I could be with Cherie. Duncan had made this plan and booked his flight eight months ago! Yea, that’s Duncan for you. (See: Duncan – Concetrated Dosage)

So I had to break the news to Cherie. I didn’t know what her reaction would be, but when I told her she understood and was totally cool with it. (I mean, she sort of had to accept it. There was nothing I could do.) But she seems really good at accepting disappointment. I’m sure she’s had enough of that in her short life. My daughter Lorelei is the same way. She lived with her mother for so long she became accepting that life would be full of grinding disappointments. But instead of resentment, these two Scorpios, just knuckled down and made themselves better people. They haven’t met yet, but when they finally do, I hope I remember to thank them both for that wonderful trait.

So this was going to be a three-week intimacy drought. I know that’s really hard on her. I’m used to not getting laid. I’m just happy to be once again having sex. So I decided I should at least take her out to lunch during the week so we could at least see each other.

We met on a Tuesday, at where else? Ruby Tuesday’s! I just realized that connection. It was really nice to see her, but the embers are always smoldering under the surface with us. That feeling that we want nothing more than to rip each others clothes off and tear each other apart. I’m looking at her across the table. She’s telling me some story, and I’m listening, but I’m just letting my eyes dance all over her. Her lovely face, full lips, her lovely skin. She’s wearing her hair down, but in a pony tail pulled to the side. She looks very collegiate with her official Temple I.D.

I want her. But I can’t have her. Not today. Not for another week and a half. She looks lovely today. I tell her every time I see her she becomes more beautiful. She’s grateful and sweet about it, but I can see in her dark eyes what she really desires.

Sometimes I think I like writing about the non-sexual encounters because there’s more to think about. The obvious and easy part of the relationship is just the collision of our bodies in a celebration of pulchritude, but sitting and breaking bread with her and not being “allowed” to be intimate, is somewhat titillating. The forbidden. The denied. I’m a very patient man. I can wait years for things to come to fruition. A week and a half won’t kill me, but to her, it’s making her crazy.

She tells me she thinks about sex with me all day, and it’s driving her crazy. I’ve never experienced a woman like this. I was always a hyper-sexual growing up, but I have truly met my match. Mine has settled with middle age, but the fires can still burn brightly when they are fanned. She says she’s a nymphomaniac, and the only thing stopping her from being a whore is self-respect, control, and loyalty.

All great qualities. Wow. It’s like I’m banging Storm from the X-Men or something. Because when the lightning strikes it is extremely powerful. And once she gets going, you only get a few hours of repose while the eye of Cherie’s hurricane passes over you. But then she returns. Gently caressing your back and arms. You slowly awaken, and the wind increases, and within a short time you are both back at it and the sex storm is back to full force.

I love it, and I love Cherie, but it’s like I’m in some sort of sexual training program. It’s funny… you really do have to be careful what you wish for. I remember reading this book that my ex-girlfriend Michelle once lent me. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) It was called The Secret. I don’t know if this book was something that helped a lot of people but I do remember reading that if you think hard enough things that you want, and you do the right activities, you will actually start to ‘pull’ those things toward you. I started to do it back when I met Michelle, and it started to work.

But Cherie almost seems like a ‘reward’ of some kind. I’ve suffered at the hands of so many for so long, I was finally granted a reprieve from all of the bad drama and problems all of these women suffered from. Cherie was the perfect girl for me. Smart. getting her education. (Graduating next year) Hard worker. Doesn’t want anymore kids. I don’t see her all of the time, so I have my alone time. Super chill, zero drama chick. And of course, there’s the mad sexual appetite.

So we finish eating. We’ve brought each other up to date on what’s been happening in each others lives. I walk her to the train. She has to stop back at school, and then go to work over at CHOP. We’re sitting on a bench that’s a bit further away from the crowd on the platform. I get to steal a few kisses from my lovely lady. She even offers me her soft slender neck. I tell her I love her and she always returns the same.

We agree that another lunch next Tuesday should at least bridge the canyon of desire until next weekend.

“And when I do see you next weekend, and we’re together…”

“Yes, Cherie?”

“I want you to fuck me, and fuck me, and fuck me. Please promise. ”

She says this with all seriousness, like it is something she needs more than desires.

In ten days I’ll fulfill that wish.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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Cruel and unusual torture!! — Sensuality, Sex & Something else

 

Ugh…..I am dying!! I am seriously suffering from a condition called lack of nookieitis!! Before I had my surgery the doctor told me no sexual activity for 4 – 6 weeks, I guess I focused only on the (4) weeks so when I went for my post surgery check up on Friday at almost (4) weeks I […]

via Cruel and unusual torture!! — Sensuality, Sex & Something else

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish everyday at 8am & 12pm EST.

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8 Experiences Couples Should Go Through Before Getting Married

“Experts say these things may help prepare you for the long haul of marriage.”

Building a strong foundation for marriage or another long-term committed relationship doesn’t happen in an instant. There are certain experiences couples go through over time that help them understand each other on a deeper level.

“We date and spend time together to figure out if a person is right for us, but time together is important also because the experiences that we have together build a bond, piece by piece,” marriage and family therapist Becky Whetstone told HuffPost. “The bonds are what helps the relationship withstand good times and bad.”

So ideally, what things should a couple go through together before taking a walk down the aisle? We asked marriage experts for their suggestions. (Note that what’s listed below are just that — suggestions. Every relationship is different, so this is by no means a be-all, end-all checklist.)

1. Take a big trip together.

“Whether you opt for a road trip across the U.S. or spend a few weeks backpacking through Southeast Asia, you need to see how it feels to truly rely on your partner when navigating novel experiences together. How do they cope with challenges like a flat tire or being immersed in a society without the ability to communicate in English? Are they able to roll with the punches and stay positive, or do they get pessimistic, moody or unreliable? This can be a litmus test for how they deal with the challenges that will arise later in life.” ― Spencer Scott, psychologist

2. Successfully resolve a big argument.

“Can you talk about things in a mutually respectful way? Can you communicate and collaborate without shutting down, attacking, blaming or getting defensive if you don’t immediately get your way? Or can you notice such reactions and then take a breath, step back, soothe yourself and continue the conversation? Can you arrive at some solution that feels okay to both of you? Facing and working through differences and conflicts creates an important foundation for your relationship going forward. If you can’t deal with conflicts at some point during dating, then how can you expect to deal with inevitable conflicts that arise in even the best relationships after marriage?” ― John Amodeo, marriage and family therapist and author of Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships

3. Have an in-depth conversation about your childhoods and family histories. 

“Understand who your partner is and what they believe in. Spend time understanding one another’s history, learn about their family, what they loved and didn’t love along the way. Are they open or closed off? Do they believe they should put their parents above the marriage? What do they value and believe in? The more you know and understand about each other, the more solid your relationship will be.” ― Becky Whetstone

4. Make a shared budget and stick to it.

Finances are the No. 1 reason partners who share a household fight. Before commitment, you need to know if you can rely on your partner to stay true to a budget and effectively manage your shared pool of money. It might be a good idea to start small, like agreeing how much money you want to spend as a couple one weekend, then trying to have fun within that set limit.” ― Spencer Scott

5. Hit a rough patch — like a job loss, health scare or other stressful event — and come out the other side.

“It’s easy to love when things are going well. However, it’s the thunderstorms and difficulties that arise that show us if the relationship is based on real love or infatuation. Ultimately, in every relationship, frustrations happen, storms arise and our unhealed wounds come out of the shadows for healing. It is important to have a ‘rough waters’ game plan when the inevitable problems, fears, anger or regressions hit. Nothing builds trust more than a good storm. That’s when you learn what you are made of, how secure the relationship really is, and how committed you both are. When it gets tough, do you fall apart, run away or hold hands and talk it out?” ― Sheri Meyers, marriage and family therapist

6. Go to couples therapy

“Couples need to take the time to learn from someone who solidly understands the dynamics [of communication in a relationship]. The goal is to be able to transmit and receive messages in a way that remains respectful and doesn’t damage the relationship. This sounds easy and simple, but it isn’t ― especially when people are sensitive and tend to get feelings hurt or take things personally.” ― Whetstone

7. Live together. 

“You’ll be able to find out how you live together, how compatible and how tolerant you can be toward one another. Sharing a living space will help you figure out what annoys and upsets you in regard to your differences, needs and priorities and whether the two of you can manage and accept them. Also, when you live together, you realize the importance of teamwork and respect while dealing with chores and responsibilities.

Managing shared lives is much more difficult than managing life by yourself. Through the experience of living together, you get to know your partner and yourself better. You are forced to develop boundaries, intimacy and relationship skills and hopefully you move toward personal growth.” ― Moshe Ratson, marriage and family therapist

8. Go through a sexual rut. Then be willing to talk about it. 

“While it’s natural for couples to experience peaks and valleys in their sex lives, when a valley happens or stays too long, hurt, disappointments and rejection creep in. If your partner is starting to feel more like a roommate than a lover, this is a prime opportunity to come together and talk truth, all masks off about your desires, turn-ons and sexual expectations. How much sexual contact do you both want? What makes you feel connected and intimate? What are you going to do on the ‘off’ days? What do you each need to feel desired? How much experimentation is allowed?

“Look at ways to keep it fresh and stretch your comfort zone. Creating some conscious strategies early on will eliminate some of the disappointment that occurs when the sexual excitement shifts or goes temporarily dormant.”

 

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