The Easy Marriage Doesn’t Exist: Tips for Staying Together and Making it Last
To celebrate her first year of marriage, a Twitter user recently posted a simple question: What’s your best relationship advice?
I love these crowdsourced questions because you can learn so much about what works for other people. More than 2,000 comments were made. Here are some of the highlights:
- Patient, trust, communication, and an awareness that no one changes for anything else. Keep your own identity, your own phone and your own email, and respect each others’ boundaries.
- Give and demand respect. No mind games with each other. Never say anything mean in anger because no matter how sorry you are, it can’t be unheard. Play and laugh every day.
- Never, ever, stop working on the relationship. It is never stagnant. It is always evolving. It will never be what it was yesterday. It will always be growing, blossoming.
- Treat your spouse as you would your best friend…with respect, empathy, kindness, and consideration. Laugh with them, cry with them, and don’t disparage them to your friends. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
- Express any anger, upset, disappointment, hurt, etc. immediately. Don’t bury anything. Be honest.
- Always treat your spouse as you would your best friend…..with respect, empathy, kindness, and consideration. Laugh with them, cry with them, and don’t disparage them to your friends. Treat them as you would want to be treated.’
- You spend more time in the friendship part of the relationship than the romantic over time, so nurture that friendship. And keep your sense of humor.
- Separate checking accounts.
- If you have children, don’t put your marriage on the back burner because of them. You need to find a balance. Keep having sex and adult conversations, even if you’re too tired. Once you let the most important stuff slide, it’s the beginning of the end.
- It can be helpful to ignore the accepted wisdom and go to bed angry, because it gives you time to calm down during arguments that have ‘no solutions’.
- If you do go to bed angry, you should always do so while ‘touching feet’ to create a level of connection, despite your emotional divide.
- The moment you commit, you’re no longer an individual, you are a team. If you don’t have that mindset, then start finding it. It’s a great feeling when you know you’re not in this crazy thing called life by yourself.
- Don’t take each other for granted, forgive, love, have patience as you will both change over the years.
I’ve been happily — yes, happily! — married for over twenty years to my wife, whom I adore. She means the world to me and I’m not afraid to say it. That being said, marriage can be challenging sometimes. Here is what works for us:
- We laugh every day; sometimes at each other, sometimes watching TV shows, but we always find the humor in situations, even serious ones. Life can be cruel and tough and finding the humor is a great coping mechanism. I make fun of her strange habits (collecting stuffed animals, keeping everything ‘just in case,’ unplugging the toaster after each use, etc.) and she reciprocates.
- We are on the same page with finances. We have a joint checking account and a monthly budget. She can spend up to $200 a month on Amazon with no questions asked — my budget is $100. We keep track of the purchases in a spreadsheet to make sure we don’t go over our individual budgets. This works really well and we each can buy whatever we want without the other questioning the purchase.
- The last words we say to each other before going to sleep are “I love you.”
- My wife and I share several of the same hobbies — walking, feeding the community turtles, TV shows, movies, food, theme parks, and humor. I support her side businesses and vice versa. When it comes to vacations, I plan the logistics of getting there and she plans our activities upon arrival.
- We see ourselves as a team — and sometimes it’s us versus the world. Teamwork is the key to marriage and it will fall apart without it. We block and tackle the chores, raising our son, logistics, meals, and dealing with extended family members.
- One area we haven’t been great at is going on getaways by ourselves. We rarely take a trip or long weekend without our son. It works for us but may not for everyone.
- We are best friends and got lucky in this regard. Marrying your best friend helps sustain a marriage over the long term.
- We treat each other with respect and never, ever, curse at each other. There is a line you never want to cross with your spouse and this is it.
- We immediately express our feelings to each other. I told her very early on that guys are terrible at guessing what a woman is feeling — so you might as well tell us to avoid unnecessary arguments and conflict.
What about you? What tips do you have for newlyweds on how to sustain a successful and healthy marriage?