7 Off-Topic Activities that Can Prep you for Marriage
December 12, 2017By Tobi Atte

I am a huge (like HUUUGGGEEE) advocate for conscious intentional preparation for marriage and continuous improvement together when you enter it. However, there are some things that seem totally unrelated but can start to wire (or rewire) our mind for marriage. I love this list and you will, too. You’ll probably say “Hmm, never thought of that before” a couple of times. The beauty of this list is that this is not a list of stuff you have to go do to have a better marriage. In other words, don’t go do these things for the sole purpose of marriage preparation.

                  

However, IF you do find yourself in any of these activities AND you keep your relationship antenna on by being emotionally “aware,” you will certainly get new skills and new emotional wiring that will allow you to shine in marriage.

                  

1)  Volunteering

                  

To offer one’s self for someone or some service, to give of one’s self voluntarily without compensation. To do for others what others need and without external reward.

Look at those statements closely. Isn’t that a HUGE part of what makes a marriage work?

Volunteering does MAJOR rewiring for our minds and hearts. It puts our hands, feet, and money where our mouth is. It gives us practice in an area we desperately need in marriage.

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • Meeting other people’s needs that you personally don’t have
  • Serving people you don’t always agree with
  • Being content with internal reward (and being intrinsically motivated)

                  

2)  Spending time with or working with kids

                  

This is another wiring shop job! If you’ve ever had to babysit for more than 30 minutes, you know exactly what I’m talking about. MAJOR KUDOS to daycare employees and toddler teachers.

 

It takes us really far outside of ourselves.

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • Taking care of people who can’t appreciate you in the moment
  • Being with selfish little people and being obligated to be the bigger person (more times than you thought you could)
  • Learning to anticipate someone else’s needs before they even ask

                  

3)  Rebuilding credit/Repaying debt

                  

You’re probably thinking, “Huh? What in the world does this have to do with…”
Well, think about it with me.

                  

Debt is what you have when you borrow. Debt is what you have to repay today for what you consciously benefited from yesterday when you could not afford it.                  

Working to rebuild credit or repay debt helps us bring ownership to our past actions and puts us in a state of responsibility to fix today what we caused yesterday so that tomorrow can be easier.

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • You immediately see how dangerous it is to let bad things/feelings/accumulate
  • It forces you to better manage resources today so that you don’t end up in the same place tomorrow
  • It increases your capacity for delayed gratification because (a) you are postponing today’s pleasure as you use today’s resources to replay yesterday’s debt and (b) as you do so, you begin to realize that you can actually live on less
  • It helps you get mad at yourself and only yourself. Sometimes we need to not be able to point to anyone or anything else other than ourselves as the cause of our pain

                  

4) Starting something (Entrepreneurship)

Whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit, entrepreneurship of any kind will change you. Guaranteed. It takes a lot and, in most people, it requires them to become who they were not before. Starting something (successful or not) by default requires traits in us that, if honed properly, can become strengths in marriage.

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • It means you are able to take initiative to solve problems in your environment
  • It means you are able to take ownership of multiple parts of what makes something work and not just what you like doing (a fashion entrepreneur may love the designing aspect but also knows that taxes must be filed, building compliance standards must be met and so on)
  • Starting something like a company or an organization works both your risk-taking and self-confidence muscles. Think about it. Going against the grain, believing in yourself even when people around you may not, seeing the future vision so clearly even when others don’t, but being able to make a decision to move forward when the road is not all that clearly laid out. Those are powerful traits to bring into marriage if managed right.

                  

5)  Giving (good) presentations

                  

Yup! I told you this would be an interesting list!

                  

If you give good presentations, certain things get ingrained in you that will be useful in marriage. If you agree that communication is critical in marriage, this point will make total sense in a sec.

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • Well, first let’s identify and use some important elements of good presentations to unpack that.
  • It forces you to focus not just on what you want to say but how. (Because good presenters know that how you present information is just as important (if not more) as what you are presenting)
  • It forces you to consider your audience. (So, you can connect better and make the information relevant)
  • Giving a good presentation requires you to you to be confident, open, and not defensive when it’s time for Q/A (when what you present may be challenged a bit)
  • Presentations force you to think about complete communication. (What to wear, what examples to use, what images to use and so on)

                  

6)  Reading/Watching Biographies


Have you ever read a great biography or watched a biography series? You walk away just mind blown about all the stuff that most people didn’t know about that person. You feel like you know that person much better now. This offers powerful rewiring for marriage!

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • Biographies help you see not just the celebrity, but the person.
  • Biographies help you see not just what they accomplished, but what it took (When this translates in marriage, it helps you to not just focus on what your spouse has or can accomplish, but to better understand what that journey will take)
  • Even as a single, it helps to see people for where they are on their journey to becoming what you think that have the potential to become.
  • They help understand a whole character. You’ll see their pains and struggles and how they managed them as opposed to what’s on Instagram.
  • Biographies will hardwire into your mind this simple fact: There is a lot more to people than is immediately visible.

                  

7)    Moving (or traveling) to a new place and learning to speak their language

                  

This is HARD. Even asking for something simple can exhaust you as you communicate with someone who does not speak your language.

This has to be one of the most important ones on this list. That’s half of marriage right there! …communicating with someone you depend on who doesn’t fully speak your emotional language.

                  

How exactly does it rewire our minds and hearts?

  • It forces you to concentrate on listening.
  • It forces you to learn to read signs (gestures and non-verbal communication)
  • It forces you to keep things simple and communicate exactly what you need by using universally understood language. If you need to eat, you point to your mouth. If you want to pee….well, you don’t point to your mouth. (This will solve like 30% of marital problems)

                  

If you really look closely at the bullet points above, you realize that the things we do that require us to dig deeper within ourselves, are the things that shape and prepare us for the relationships that will require us to dig deeper within ourselves.

                  

So there you have it. These things will rewire you big time.

                  

This obviously is not a list of the things you must do to have a good marriage. In other words, don’t scurry off to go start a business or run off to another country specifically for marriage training BUT…if you find yourself in any of these situations or have any of this opportunities, keep your heart and mind open and look for the marriage lessons that will be readily available to you in any of these situations.

                  

                  

Tobi Atte is a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, motivational speaker and the writer behind IJustMetMe, a lifestyle website for young adults who need a good dose of daily inspiration to tackle tough life issues. Tobi is also the author of the new book How to Make Sure Your Values are Aligned: A Guide to Avoiding Relationship Frustration. For more on relationships, motivation, fresh perspectives on faith, personal improvement and more, read/learn more at www.ijustmetme.com,  watch him on YouTube HERE and download his free e-book HERE.


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