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Marital Advice

August 17, 2011

With Bestie C getting married on Friday (Two days!  Two days!), it has made me really think about and reflect on all of the marital advice I was given before I became a wife.  Some of it was funny, some of it was sentimental, and some was… well, just mental.  And since I’m now an old married lady, I thought I would share what people told me and what I have to say about it.

1.  Don’t do it!  Ha ha HA.  Shut up, you commit-phobic people.  You’re not funny, especially when the bride is nervous.  Just say congrats and shut your pie hole.  Moving on…

2.  Don’t go to bed angry.  I have tried this one maybe three or four times, mostly because if B and I fight, it lasts no longer than an hour and a half.  It’s also typically me who is the instigator.  B’s a saint.  The advice, however, is kind of a double-edge sword.  Yes, it’s good to find closure before you sleep, but what about using it as a time to collect your thoughts on what the real issue is?  I know that when we argue, I always end up being able to vocalize what the issue is in a simple, calm sentence at the end and wonder why I ever got upset in the first place.  I guess it really boils down to knowing your argument style and your partner’s.  If waiting is going to make things worse, solve it now.  If you need a lot of time to collect your thoughts, take a breather or a nap.  It can help.

3.  Be good to each other.  This is the one line I remember from my sister’s maid of honor speech (she repeated it about eight times).  It sounds simple, but sometimes it can mean so much more than those simple words.  Sometimes it means just being nice, even when you don’t want to be.  Sometimes it means making your sweetie something delicious when he/she is at work.  Sometimes it means you have to show some tough love and tell it like it is, like when your husband needs a little motivation to get those grad school applications done and the computer keeps distracting him.  And sometimes, it means putting your own needs aside to give your partner the time and energy.  See?  Not always so simple.

4.  Talk over everything.  I am fully on board for open and honest communication.  I believe that communication is the key to a healthy relationship, and it probably shows with how much B and I talk about everything.  We even come up with hypothetical situations to see how the other would react, allowing us to know each other better.  But sometimes talking is overrated.  Take those three little words, for example.  Saying “I love you” is great and should be something you do every day (for me, numerous times a day), but are your actions showing it?  Let your actions do some talking for you.  Show that you love your partner.

5.  My advice:  Share hobbies, but keep your own as well.  Sharing activities you love is a great way to bond, but it’s important to keep your own as well.  Am I trying to read B’s plays over his shoulder?  No.  Do I tag along when he goes to play poker with his coworkers?  Nope.  Because I know these are his hobbies.  He’s more than willing to share the experiences, and I am there when he wants to share his latest happening, but I don’t need to be doing the same thing as him all the time.  It allows us some “me time,” and we have something new to share and talk about later.

6.  My advice: Have friends and keep them!  Okay, this is another one that sounds really simple, and you may be wondering why I even bothered to write it down.  But we all know couples who have sunken into themselves and don’t make time for friends.  My parents are two of them.  It’s not that they aren’t friendly; it’s just that with everything else going on, they forgot to set aside a portion of the time pie for having fun with friends.  It’s so important to maintain friendships because, let’s face it, at some point, you may look at your partner and go, “Can I please get some variety in who I talk to?”  Not in a mean way, of course, but sometimes, when I haven’t seen or talked to my friends lately, I long for some estrogen.  Friends make your life more colorful and fuller.  Keep them!  It helps your marriage!

7.  My advice:  Be honest about what you need.  This goes for every section of life when you are married.  If it’s “me time,” some sexy time, some time away from having to cook all of the meals, a little more respect, whatever it is, say something before it becomes a big issue.  It’s better to disarm little problems before they become ugly, ready to explode bombs.  This also means that you can’t just fluff off when something bothers you.  “Oh, I’m fine” isn’t fooling anyone.  It can lead to resentment, so while it’s small, say something.

8.  My advice:  Give compliments just like you are still dating.  Everyone likes to know when they do something well or when they look great.  That doesn’t change with marriage, and you always hear about people who have been married a while forgetting to appreciate what they have.  Fully appreciate the person you have chosen.  Sure, there are bound to be things that drive you nuts about the other person, but those aren’t the reasons why you married him/her!  If your spouse looks nice, say so!  If dinner tastes amazing, declare it!  Share the happiness and you’ll probably get some back.

9.  My advice:  Make date night a priority.  When we first got married, B was under the impression that living together was like one long date.  I had other opinions.  We worked out a system where at least once a month we have a date night.  It can range anywhere from a movie night at home to a movie out with dinner.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but making time to connect with each other is important.  You can just focus on each other and how much fun you could have on that date.  I think one of my favorite married dates so far as been the time we spend competing together, like when we run the 4 on the Fourth or when we did the tubing scavenger hunt on our anniversary.

In short, love love love, and save some for yourself.  Marriage is FUN, as long as you make it fun.  I still look at B’s wedding ring and can’t stop smiling at times.  It’s work, but it’s fun.

What marriage advice do you have?

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