Now that the official start of the wedding season is upon us, I’d like to share some marriage advice that I’ve accumulated over the last five years of my marriage. It might not work for everyone, but you can pick and choose the ones that have meaning for you. And as with all free advice – it’s only worth as much as you paid for it!
1. Speak up! If your spouse does something that annoys you – whether it’s something small like leaving socks in the middle of the living room; or something big, like not listening to you – you need to speak up early. Even if it sounds silly, even if you feel like you are nagging. If you don’t say something now, you will become resentful towards those socks and eventually towards your spouse. And the poor guy/girl won’t even know what hit her/him when you finally blow up after years of putting up and shutting up.
2. Be nice to your mother-in-law. And your brother-in-law. And your grandpa-in-law. It’s not important to like them, but it’s important to recognize that they are your spouse’s crazy family. You have yours, don’t you? So respect each other’s families and accept that everyone’s family is a little nuts.
4. You will have fights. This is normal. It doesn’t mean that the marriage is over, or that you don’t love each other anymore. It just means, that well, you are humans. But don’t bring up past hurts or attack each other’s personalities or any of that other nasty stuff. Be fair. And never underestimate the healing power of a good fight, cry, a heavy door you can slam, and then open up to make up.
5. Leave something to the imagination – please. All right, so you can’t hide your hair removing devices for the rest of your life, and you can’t be lady-like when you have the stomach flu, or that nasty zit on your back. But it’s not going to kill you to take off your ex-boyfriend’s boxers and your high school T-shirt for a couple of nights, and slip into something cuter, right? This is true for guys too – contrary to popular belief, your high school mesh T-shirt isn’t attractive either.
6. Put down the toilet seat. Really.
7. Get away from each other! Get a hobby! Go out with friends! Please, do not become one of those couples that only do things together. It’s really annoying to your friends and ultimately very bad for your relationship. You need to go out and have your own adventures so that you can keep coming home and have something new and fun to share.
8. Talk about money. All. The. Time. This sucks, but it’s the best way to make sure that you can achieve your financial goals and have enough left for lattes. One person always ends up being the spender and the other the saver. (If you are both spenders, good luck to you!) Respect each other’s money habits, but be flexible and compromise. Nobody should have to ask his/her spouse for spending money.
9. Stop blaming it on PMS! Both of you!
10. You will only know what “for richer for poorer; for sickness and in health” means when one of you gets sick or you struggle with money. They are both worth living through together – you will be the stronger for it.