4 Marriage Mistakes Men Make

black groom and bride at beach

Yes, both men and women can be guilty of things that not only make a harmonious union more of a challenge, but sometimes even sabotage the whole relationship.

READ: Marriage Mistakes That Women Make

That said, there are some very male-specific habits and behaviors that many women agree need to be worked on…not only for women’s happiness, not only to strengthen the beautiful union you’re trying to build together, but even to help both of you be healthier.

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“Over time, negative feelings in a relationship that aren’t addressed can lead to physical and psychological problems,” says Silver Spring, Md.-based psychologist Gloria Vanderhorst, PhD. These problems can include stress, anxiety and depression.

Here are some of the top behaviors that wives tend to be concerned with the most:

1. Being too self-focused when it comes to sex.

In the bedroom, many men overlook, ignore, or assume what their wives need to feel comfortable and get turned on. While going from zero to sixty in just a few minutes isn’t as much of a challenge for men, women’s bodies tend to work a little differently, and therefore need more pre-sex attention and time to truly get in the mood.

In addition, men often assume that sex all by itself is a demonstration of closeness; however, in order to enjoy sex more, women generally need to feel more emotionally connected to a man…prior to sex.

Next time: Prior to turning the lights down low, ask your wife what puts her in the mood, how she’s feeling, and what makes her feel special and sexy. Then, make an effort to do more of those things more often.

2. Not understanding her feelings and listening enough.

Instead of listening to their wives, men often go into “fix-it” mode, analyzing the situation, but overlooking what she’s really trying to say. Women want to feel that their spouse is actively engaged in the conversation…not just trying to solve problems.

“Empathy is the most important part of any relationship,” says psychologist Albert Maslow, PhD. “It’s the ability to recognize and share someone else’s feelings. Women want their feelings to be understood and validated. Men have to discover this.”

Next time: Listen to your wife, talk about how she’s feeling, and demonstrate an interest in what she’s saying, not just the facts of the problem at hand.

3. Assuming the “king of the castle” role

Consciously or unconsciously, men assign themselves the leadership role in the relationship, when actually, a couple’s relationship really needs to be one of shared leadership. Some men don’t get that being a man doesn’t always mean taking charge.

“They try to get what they want by being dominant,” Maslow says. “But it’s not about making demands or trying to overpower her. Women will pull away from that.”

For example, one common mistake that men often make is making decisions that affect the household without consulting with their spouse first, such as making a large purchase.

“Making big purchases such as buying a car without first consulting your wife is a huge no-no,” Vanderhorst says. In fact, she ranks it second only to infidelity when it comes to marriage-busting mistakes.

Next time: Acknowledge that marriage is a democracy, not a monarchy. Show your spouse the respect she deserves by being willing to compromise, and discuss matters that affect the household with your wife…before making decisions.

4. Not discussing your own feelings enough.

Listening to your wife talk about her feelings is essential. So is talking about your own. Unfortunately, too many men are raised to believe that discussing their emotions is a sign of weakness, which is a mistake. Yes, opening up takes strength and courage, but it’s vital to a strong and healthy union.

“The woman feels like she’s missing a close connection that she wants with her husband,” says Maslow. “When he’s withdrawn, she feels like he is leaving her.”

Next time: Tell your spouse how you’re really feeling, including things that worry you or scare you. She’ll appreciate and reciprocate the trust and intimacy you’ve shown her.

Your Immune System: Exercises That Help & Hurt It

A woman holding a man's feet as he tries to do sit upsThe average adult has two to three respiratory infections each year. That number jumps to six or seven for young children. Whether or not you get sick with a cold after being exposed to a virus depends on many factors that affect your immune system. Old age, cigarette smoking, mental stress, poor nutrition and lack of sleep have all been associated with impaired immune function and increased risk of infection.

Can regular exercise help keep your immune system in good shape? Researchers are just now supplying some answers to this new and exciting question.

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Fitness enthusiasts have frequently reported that they experience less sickness than their sedentary peers. For example, a survey conducted during the ’80s revealed that 61 percent of 700 recreational runners reported fewer colds since they began running, while only 4 percent felt they had experienced more.

Further research has shown that during moderate exercise, several positive changes occur in the immune system. Various immune cells circulate through the body more quickly, and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. Once the moderate exercise bout is over, the immune system returns to normal within a few hours.

In other words, every time you go for a brisk walk, your immune system receives a boost that should increase your chances of fighting off cold viruses over the long term.

Should you exercise when sick?

Fitness enthusiasts and endurance athletes alike are often uncertain of whether they should exercise or rest when sick. Although more research is needed, most sports medicine experts in this area recommend that if you have symptoms of a common cold with no fever (i.e., symptoms are above the neck), moderate exercise such as walking is probably safe.

Intensive exercise should be postponed until a few days after the symptoms have gone away. However, if there are symptoms or signs of the flu (i.e., fever, extreme tiredness, muscle aches, swollen lymph glands), then at least two weeks should probably be allowed before you resume intensive training.

Staying in shape to exercise

The following guidelines can help reduce their odds of getting sick.

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet. The immune system depends on many vitamins and minerals for optimal function. However, at this time, there is no good data to support supplementation beyond 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowances.
  2. Avoid rapid weight loss. Low-calorie diets, long-term fasting and rapid weight loss have been shown to impair immune function. Losing weight quickly is not good for the immune system.
  3. Obtain adequate sleep. Major sleep disruption (e.g., three hours less than normal) has been linked to immune suppression.
  4. Avoid over doing it. Space vigorous workouts apart as far apart as possible. Keep “within yourself” and don’t push beyond your ability to recover.