5 Tips for a Kick Ass Marriage

I’ve been married a little over four years, and I love it. I love LOVE. I love to be loved, and I love to give love.

When I was a kid, I didn’t believe in marriage. I didn’t care about it. You rarely hear about the beautiful things a happy marriage can bring in to your life, and all of the ways a strong partnership can make you a better human being. Instead, you hear about losing your autonomy, the nightmare of waking up next to the “ole ball and chain” every day for the rest of your life, and the horror of going broke in the wake of a disastrous divorce. 

Take a look at the marriage statistics in this country. Something like 50% of marriages end in divorce. There’s no way to know how many people spend decades in unhappy marriages, but I would guess those numbers are high, too. 

With stats like that, who in their right mind would ever willingly marry? Talk about taking a huge risk. 

I knew I was going to marry Lela four months after meeting her. There was no question in my mind. Every time I looked into her eyes, all I could see was how amazing my future was going to be. I got married because I saw in Lela a partner who would always be supportive, loving, and loyal. She is the most compassionate, and kindhearted person I’ve ever met, and I needed more of that in my life. She makes me a better person. 

Colin Cowie Steph & Lela

After several years of loving the woman of my dreams, I’m still looking for ways to be a better spouse. I want to keep the fire alive in my marriage, and continue to make Lela as happy as possible.  

I’m not an expert on marriage, but I’ve learned many valuable things that I feel are worthy of sharing. Maybe these things will help you as they have helped us.

TAKE REALLY GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF

Exercise regularly, eat healthy food, set and achieve new goals, read books, learn a foreign language, meditate, get your hair done, dress well, take showers, brush and floss your teeth, and get plenty of sleep. Who the hell wants to be married to someone who doesn’t take care of themselves?

If I neglect myself, I won’t be able to give my wife 100%. Put yourself first, and you will be strong enough to take care of every one else. Use the airplane oxygen mask analogy; put your mask on yourself before assisting others. Because if you’re passed out on the floor or dead, you can’t do a damn thing for anyone else.

LIVE AN EXCITING LIFE TOGETHER

You have to marry someone who is just as excited as you are to do cool shit. I love to travel, and experience new cultures. I enjoy being a risk taking entrepreneur. I knew what I wanted out of life before I got married, and I wouldn’t have committed myself to someone who wasn’t willing to join me on these life adventures. For this one to happen, you must find the right person to marry. Obviously this requires some forethought, so be patient and choose wisely. 

While you don’t always have to agree on what constitutes excitement, you do have to support one another’s crazy ideas, and continue trying new things together. One of my favorite quotes is, “The grass is greener where you water it.” That makes SO much sense, right? Make your marriage, and make your life as exciting as possible. You have that power.

If you’re both honestly content sitting around watching TV together all day, then great! Just as long as you’re on the same page. 

We all have bills to pay, and we all have mundane obligations from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a mediocre existence. More excitement means more energy, and more energy leads to a more fulfilling, and happy life. 

KNOW YOUR ROLE

If you’re currently in an intimate relationship, it’s because one of you exhibits more masculine energy, and the other exhibits more feminine energy, thus creating a magnetic draw that keeps you both drooling over one another. If you’re still regularly having passionate sex, then you’ve REALLY mastered this energy dance. Congratulations! 

Sexual polarity must be acknowledged in the beginning of your relationship, and used appropriately if you’re going to have a lasting marriage. I am the masculine in my relationship, and Lela is the feminine. Just by looking at us, you would have guessed that. But this energy isn’t limited to appearances. I own my masculine, and it compliments Lela’s feminine. Part of the reason we work so well is because of this constant polarity. If we hit a riff in our relationship, it’s usually due to the fact that one of us is no longer honoring our respective core energies. Easy fix. Know your role, and play it well. 

Intimate relationships end when polarity fades. If the masculine becomes more feminine, the feminine core in the relationship will be turned off by the similarity between the two energies as the two of you become one, and vice versa. If you know you’re a masculine, whether you’re a female or a male, you need to own it. Masculine cores: Embrace your masculinity. Feminine cores: Embrace your femininity. Notice I didn’t say “be a man,” or “be a woman.” I’m talking about energy, and behavior, I’m not talking about sex or gender. For more information on this fascinating subject, check out David Deida’s book, “The Way of the Superior Man.”

TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING

In a marriage, no subject should be off limits. Talk about everything. Be honest. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Share stories of the past. Be Raw. Reserve judgement. Encourage communication. Shut up, and listen with an open mind. Be respectful. Open. The. Fuck. Up. If you can’t be completely honest with yourself, don’t even think about getting married. Sharing deep secrets, and building trust are vital to every relationship.

If you can’t discuss uncomfortable topics, what will happen when you face a challenge in your marriage? You’ll lie, or you’ll talk to someone else about it. What’s the point of being married if you’re pulling shit like that?

I don’t tell my wife that she looks good in a pair of jeans if I don’t really think it. I expect, and I get, the same in return. Same goes for her. If she thinks a business idea of mine is a waste of time, she tells me what she thinks. We don’t sugarcoat anything to spare feelings. Sometimes we take each other’s advice, and sometimes we don’t. We are free thinking individuals, after all. Truth allows us to improve as human beings, and your spouse acts as the mirror in your life. 

FIGHT REALLY WELL

Happy people fight. They fight REALLY well. Unhappy people are typically passive aggressive, and hold all of their emotions in. They sweep problems under the rug, and turn their backs like cowards.

When you disagree with your spouse about something, speak up, work through it and move on. Don’t continue bringing up the same tired ass arguments over and over again. Don’t be disrespectful, or create resentment. Remain calm, and ask questions. 

Often when our spouse points out something they feel we’re doing wrong, they’re giving us the opportunity to change for the better. Fighting well doesn’t mean you fight all the time, and it doesn’t mean you get to be an abusive asshole. It means that when something is wrong in your marriage, you fix what’s broken, and move forward with more clarity so it doesn’t continue happening. 

For those of you who are in amazing marriages, you already know that it’s not always easy to maintain a thriving relationship. Even if you’re really fucking happy, it doesn’t mean you get to slack off, and put your relationship on autopilot. Continue to find ways to stay inspired in your marriage. Write love notes. Surprise each other.

No matter what, do everything you can to keep the fire alive.  

 

Sharpening the saw

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

Resting. Relaxing. Getting away. 

We need to regularly put time between us and the daily grind in order to maintain emotional stability, happiness, and to avoid burnout. Taking time to yourself allows you to gain perspective, and to better handle the challenges of life. 

Stephen Covey, best selling author of the classic self development book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls this focus on preserving a healthy mental state, “Sharpening the saw.” It means taking care of YOU before all else. Eating healthy food, exercising regularly, meditating, reading, and resting are just a few examples of what it means to sharpen the saw.

The busier you are, the more frequently you need to take moments out of your life to focus on giving your body and mind what it needs. This can be reading uplifting material for a few minutes every morning, walking in nature, napping in the afternoon, or hitting the gym after work. Experiment to find the right blend of activities you personally need to keep you feeling your best.

 

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You cannot give to others what you don’t already possess.

If you’re constantly stressed out, tired, and running late, what is the quality of your interactions with others? Are you giving your commitments the time and presence they deserve? When we’re drained of energy, productivity often takes a backseat.

We’re more apt to emotionally react to situations than to respond rationally. Chronic emotional stress inevitably manifests itself as disease in the body, then we’re dealing with physical illness which threatens our livelihood and wellbeing. 

We live in a society where we’re often criticized for taking a break, and travel is viewed as a luxury not many can afford. Over the years I’ve fine tuned my perfect blend of saw sharpening necessities. They are: Traveling to unfamiliar places every three months so I can gain a fresh perspective on life and learn new things. Reading for at least ten minutes every morning and taking notes on what I’ve just read so I can feed my mind good things at the start of the day. Exercising in the morning, preferably hiking or taking a short run outside so I can connect with my body. Doing Yoga at least two days per week to ground myself, reduce tension in my body, and improve my mental clarity.

These are just a few things that keep me operating at my fullest potential every single day. After all, I need to be functioning optimally not only for myself, but for my wife, the important people around me, and for my business.

If you’ve been neglecting yourself lately, now is the time to switch gears. I encourage you to think about a few things that you really love doing, but don’t currently make enough time for. Implement a plan for how you can include more of the things that help you sharpen your saw.

We can never completely avoid stress, nor should we. Stress is a necessary part of growth, and without it, life would be dull and meaningless. Making time for the things that help us feel whole is vital to our every day happiness, health, and wellbeing.