Marriage! Just the mention of this word can have a very powerful effect on people. For example how many times have you heard a recently divorced man or woman go into a rant about how the other gender is useless, how all “the good” ones have been taken and how they will never make that mistake again. These people obviously have found marriage to be less than the happily ever after they were expecting. And then there’s the married couples you know or see that seem to have it all figured out. They never fight and always appear to be perfect together. Always laughing, talking and seem hopelessly in love. These are the same types of people that can make the recently divorced go into a rant or say things like “they make me sick!” But really marriage is a beautiful thing though as anyone happily married or divorced alike will tell you it is incredibly difficult. That is why it is so special when two people have truly figured things out. To be able to make something that some say is impossible look so easy that it makes you wonder why anyone doesn’t stay married forever.
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jason_hutchens/Now after being happily married to my high school sweet heart for more than thirteen years (I know thirteen years isn’t a world record or anything) I have learned many things about what keeps my marriage more than enjoyable. I say my marriage because everyone is different and every couple is different so like everything else in life just because it works for you or me it doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. But it also never hurt anyone to hear a few good tips and advise from someone that’s been there. So here in no particular order are my best tips for those that are planning the big I do. And even if you are already married you still might find a few good pointers yourself.
- The first is not meant to be offensive but if at all possible try not to have any children for at least the first few years maybe even closer to five. In the beginning especially marriage is fragile and the more time you have to yourselves to get to know one another the better. This is especially true for very young couples. Give yourselves some time to grow. Call me corny but I like to think of it all in comparison to fruit trees. In the first few years fruit trees produce little to no fruit but as the years pass the tree grows bigger and the roots run deeper then when the time comes the amount of fruit grows too.
- Most people have heard the old advice that married couples should never go to bed angry which I agree with but some conflicts just take time. Instead my wife and I from day one always kissed before going to sleep and not on the cheek either. I feel if every couple followed just this one tip that there would be less divorce in the world. It just has a way of conveying to the other person that yes I’m mad but I do still love you and that everything will be fine. And believe me that is powerful!
- Honesty is the best policy and that goes double for marriage because if there is no trust nothing else matters. If you are doing things that you need to be less than honest about or hide because it will make your spouse mad then you either need to stop doing it or talk about it with them. It’s really as easy as that.
- Communicate, communicate, and communicate. As obvious as this is it still amazes me to see even couples that have been married for decades not talk. Instead they just assume the other one knows what they are thinking or even worse do not care. Sure it can be uncomfortable talking about how you feel but without a doubt the more you open up the stronger your marriage will be.
- The women out there will love this one. Everyone does house work! Now my wife would laugh about this one but the truth is and she would agree, I might not do laundry and the dishes all the time but I do try to do something at least once a week. I mean if you think about it this is not 1950 anymore and chances are both of you work. Why should she do all the work at home? Guys this tip if done right will give you some major brownie points. Wink, wink.
- Trust your partner. A little jealousy can be cute but too much will only cause problems. See honesty tip. Learning to give each other some space is very important to growing as a couple.
- Another area that seems to work its way between people in love is the all mighty dollar. Sitting down and mutually agreeing on how money will be handled in your marriage is right up there in importance. This topic isn't always easy to discuss but it is also a good idea to have a game plan for finance even before the proposal. This will outline your ideas for the future and no one will be caught off guard by the others spending habits or it will not be a shock if your partner is tighter than bark on a tree. In order to minimize conflict this topic must not only be discussed but also agreed upon.
- And my final tip is about the personal side the marriage. Many marriages are destroyed by the lack of communication when it comes to romantic activities. Each of you needs to understand the others feelings and the only way this is going to happen is if you talk about it. This seems to be a problem more with women than men but if you are fighting about this then it will soon start to creep into other parts of the relationship.
And there you have it my small list of tips for a long and happy marriage. You might have thought this would be a long list but in reality some of these are very closely related and could probably be narrowed down to trust, honesty and communication. With these three things love is sure to grow and you are likely to become one of those couples that make me sick. Just kidding!