As I write this, I am one week away from getting married (December 19, 2015). Last week, I asked my Facebook friends if they had any marital advice. I’ve been dispensing advice daily for more than one thousand days so thought they could return the favor of their wisdom.
I expected everything from the deepest of hearts to the humorous to the incendiary “Don’t do it!” My friends, however, are a wonderful bunch and kept it relatively clean. (I use the term “relatively” very sloppily.)
In my solicitation, I asked them to include the number of years they are or were happily married as well as which number marriage they were enjoying. 🙂
All told, I received 2,296 words of wisdom from sixty-seven people who combined for a whopping 1,076 years of marital, uh, experience. (It took me longer to calculate those statistics than it did to write the post if you must know.)
It was even more difficult to make the post exactly 1,076 words of content—one word for every year of my friends’ marital experience. Seems silly, I know, but I’m silly. So there.
This was my interpretation of their advice. Let’s have at it!
On Your Wedding Day—It’s a Fast Pain
Stay present! It’s over faster than the pain you’ll endure from the cost of that highfalutin place you’re getting married in. Oh, and make sure to chill out when things don’t go as planned. They won’t. Take it in stride.
Have Lots of Butts…of Your Jokes
Make each other smile. Make each other laugh and laugh with each other. (I know. I reread that sentence a few times myself. Almost a palindrome. But not.) Hopefully, you’ll love each other enough to laugh at each other.
Communicate—Use Words But Other Stuff Works Too
Communication seems to be the key. I remember a year or so ago I was dining at my parents’ house. They celebrated fifty years of marriage last year. Dad and Mom cited communication as one of the three big reasons people get divorced.
One of my Facebook friends added, “When things get rough, a long walk with no phone can do wonders. Many problems can be solved with a two-mile walk.” I know this works with my dogs. I hope it works with my spouse.
The Bed is a Place for Lots of Fun Things but Being Angry Isn’t One of Them
Several agreed going to bed angry is a no-no. If you’re lucky, you’ll wake up after a few nightmares. If you’re unlucky, you wake up with some bruises.
Show and Tell isn’t Just for the Classroom
The telling part is good. The showing part is better. Actions speak louder than words. Tell each other, “I love you.” Show each other I love you.
Lose the Scorecard
Keeping score is not only unhealthy but oftentimes you’re not even using the same scoring system! Instead of keeping track, just keep doing. It’ll come back to you in many different ways.
Apologies Have Bigger Muscles Than Being Right
Whoever apologizes first is bravest no matter who is right.
Each other. Apparently dating shouldn’t stop once you’re married. If I would have known, I would have tried this marriage thing a long time ago.
Pretend Your Spouse is Your Dog
I couldn’t make this stuff up. My dear friend (I’m not naming names, Ray) said as long as we treat each other like we treat our fur baby Dachshunds, we’d be golden. You have no idea how right he is.
Aretha Knew What She was Singin’ About
Make sure to r-e-s-p-e-c-t each other—always. The words “Please” and “Thank You” should be on your tongue’s speed dial. Gratitude should be a daily feeling.
Keep Watching Sports…
…because marriage is a like a batting average. No one is perfect. If I remember correctly, guys who bat 0.333 go to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m guessing an average of 0.333 will get me into the Divorce Court Hall of Fame.
Polygamy is Apparently Legal Everywhere
One friend had an astute observation. He said, “You don’t marry one person. You marry three: the person she is, the person you think she is, and the person she will become as a result of being married to you.” After I read his remark, the first question I wanted to ask him was, “Which one of these three people should I look at when I say, ‘I do’?”
Compromising with Each Other is One Thing but Compromising with Yourself?
My friend who believes in “polygamy” offered that your spouse might have compromised before she presents you with options. Love this. I’ll make sure to ask her, whenever she gives me options, how much previous negotiating she already did with herself!
Dividing then Conquering is Better than Conquering then Dividing
There were so many golden nuggets to toss into this one, but a few of my favorites were related to balance and mathematical division. Doing things together is wonderful, but make sure you have opportunities for yourself. I also love the remarks I received about marriage being 100%/100% as opposed to 50%/50%. One hundred percent of both will work out much better than fifty-percent.
The Size of the Gift Shouldn’t be Measured in Square Footage
The big gifts to each other will not be as impactful as the small, thoughtful gifts. I completely agree. I can’t wait to see whether my fiancées agrees when it comes to diamond gifts. Just kidding. She would agree as well.
Make Sure You Know the Difference Between the Id, Ego, and Superego
Apparently, only two of these are required to live a happy marriage. You can figure out which one should go. If you can’t, Google it.
“Never” and “Always” Should, uh, Never be Used
While “Please” and “Thank You” should be on your tongue’s speed dial, the words “Never” and “Always” should be erased from your vocabulary. I’m assuming sentences such as, “I will never hurt you,” and “I will always love you,” are exceptions.
You Get Amnesia the Moment You Get Married
Never assume your spouse knows how much you love him or her. Feel free to remind him or her on a daily basis. I guess this was also an appropriate use of the word “Never.”
Make Sure You’re an Ace with Pronouns
You shouldn’t start sentences with the word “You.” Choose instead to start sentences with “I.” Take responsibility for your response and your actions. Own them.
As always, I’d love to hear from you: What is your best marital advice?
My wife (of 33 years) and I joke about “separate vacations” as a factor for a good marriage. Time spent together is critical, but this goes to giving each other space for personal, non-shared interests (e,g camping, hunting, shopping, parent/child time, etc) as appropriate, and never to excess.
David, thanks for chiming in and it’s a wonderful thing that you have the time to ACTUALLY TAKE the vacations!! Congrats on the 33 years of marriage!
I have been married to my husband for 5 years now. It is said that in some marriages the first year is the most difficult. This was too true for us. What I learned is that it all boils down to expectations. You have expectations for yourself, for the marriage and for your spouse. If you arent clear in communicating your expectations it gets quite difficult for someone to meet those expectations. Commication is key, but it has to be honest and you have to remain open minded. Hard for a stubborn girl to learn! We have both been able to learn and grow from our hardships and are stronger for them. Good luck and congratulations!!
Stephanie, that’s a great remark. Communication is such a critical part of any type of relationship. Without it there is absolutely no foundation or understanding!