I've been away from blogging for a bit because things for myself have taken a turn for the worse on the economic front. My company has gone out of business and myself and all of my colleagues have been laid off. My occasional foray into blue collar side work to supplement the income has now become my only option to keep the roof over our heads and food in our mouths. I've been working long hours doing hard work, and still sticking to my martial arts training regimen in the evenings. I've been too tired to blog.
That being said, it's Thanksgiving, and I'm grateful that I've still got the opportunity to work. Since the hard times began over 3 years ago, I swore I'd do all I can to avoid going on the dole and signing up for food stamps and other welfare programs I am morally and principally opposed to. I will do whatever it takes to stick to my principle of independence.
Deansdale requested I and a few other bloggers write a piece about "The top 10 things you can do to improve your marriage." I take it this question is based on providing advice for men already married, so things like "carefully pick the right woman" doesn't apply, since you've already made your choice.
I'll do this David Letterman style and countdown from 10 to 1:
8) Now that you've read these works, take a hard and honest look at your situation. Face the ugly truth about your issues. Are you an AMC? You can't fix your problems if you don't even recognize what they really are in the first place.
7) Live your life so that you can be 100% honest at all times. This does not mean you have to tell her everything you are thinking or feeling at all times. Discretion and circumspection are the keys to being honest while keeping the peace. Live so that you do not have to ever lie out of fear of upsetting her, or lying to yourself with rationalizations so that you justify behaviors you may do that will hurt or destroy your marriage. When it comes to marriage, honesty is the best policy.
6) Understand the concept of FRAME. Avoid playing into her frame. This is especially important if she ever issues you an ultimatum of any sort. The minute you take her ultimatum at face value and make a choice, you've submitted to her frame and you've lost either way.
5) Learn to recognize when she's "shit testing you" or "fitness testing you."
4) If you've fallen into a pattern of begging her for sex STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY. COLD TURKEY. NEVER, EVER BEG FOR SEXUAL RELATIONS FROM YOUR WIFE, EVER AGAIN.
3) Their are two sorts of relationship patterns men develop with their wives over time, especially if you have children together - a woman's basic nature to act as a mother will begin to apply to you. She will begin to act like a motherly authority to you. You have to be aware of this dynamic and shut it down as soon as she starts to treat you like you're one of her children. Remember this saying, "You are not MY Mother. I have one already. You are my wife."
2) Learn to say No when you have good reason to. Make it stick in the face of resistance and emotional outpouring of anger, sadness and/or tears.
And finally, the number one thing you can do to improve your marriage:
1)Realize that the only person you can change is YOURSELF. You can't change her. You can only change your behaviors, your patterns and your routines and hopefully see if she responds favorably to the changes you effect in yourself.
Finally, for this year, I resolve to avoid any and all partially hydrogenated feed products at my family's Turkey feast. I'll probably indulge in some sugary dessert, but the memory of how shitty I felt for several days last year after eating all the grains and partially-hydrogenated crap should be enough to help me resist temptation.