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Best marital advice?

1127 Views 69 Replies 50 Participants Last post by  MamaBug
I am getting married to DP of seven years on 4/6.

I know we have been together awhile, but I would like to hear from people who actually have the piece of paper...what is your best one sentence of advice on how to have a happy, successful marriage?

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I had a piece of paper. So take mine or leave it because this is what caused mine to fail.

Have open communication about ALL subjects, understand that even though you are becoming one, you are still two entities with two minds and two thoughts. Comprimise will help you in the long run, and comprimise means 2 people give a little to get to the middle ground.

We lacked in communication even though we thought we were on the ball with it, and we lacked the ability to come to a middle ground on some subjects. I wont lay blame.

The best advice I've had, and have to give.

The ups and downs of daily life have NOTHING to do with your marriage. Your marriage is the stability of life. (at least it should be)
My advice is this:

Never fight about the same thing twice.

If you do then you're not communicating well enough. If a problem arises, fix it. Discuss the problem, the feelings involved on both sides and find a solution. Don't just "kiss and make up" because that problem will return.
If you have been with your dp for this long, you probably have a pretty good idea of what it takes to make a relationship work. It's not easy, particularly if you have children.

My piece of advice would be not to buy the pop culture view of marriage. The expectation that gushy, romantic feelings can and should last forever sets people up for disappointment and resentment.
Ok....keep in mind two things:

1) we're amatuers, we've only been married for 6 months
2) we could be what might be considered crass

That being said, the current joke around our house is that the key to a happy marriage is to not be afraid to treat each other like a piece of meat

Before everyone jumps all over me, let me explain - this is our silly way of telling each other to not become complacent. We flirt with each other. We grab ass when we walk by each other. We generally act like a couple of stupid kids that have a crush on each other. And oddly, it keeps us happy

On a not-so-childish note, we were in a long distance relationship for 2 years. Not long by some standards, but long enough. Every night that I go to bed, I remember the nights that all I wanted in the world was to be waking up next to him, not having to say goodbye at the airport again, and for a long time we really thought it would never happen. Every time I feel like I might be taking him for granted, I remember what it felt like when we were 4 states apart. He does the same.
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Originally Posted by dynamohumm6
We flirt with each other. We grab ass when we walk by each other. We generally act like a couple of stupid kids that have a crush on each other.
That is wonderful, and I'm truly glad that you are so happy. Still, I think that the expectation that a marriage will be just that way (that you will still feel a "crush" on your spouse) in six years or sixteen years or sixty years sets a lot of people up for bitter disappointment.
Don't expect your spouse to be a mind reader, and don't keep quiet if your feelings are hurt.

So many times I've heard friends say, "But he should KNOW that I blah blah blah..." or, "I don't know what he meant, but he said..." and it turns out that the spouse meant something different.

Try to mean what you say, and say what you mean...and don't expect another person to be able to get inside your mind.

Congrats and good luck!!
A wise old married couple told dh and me our wedding day that the secret of a happy marriage was plenty of:

Good talking
Good eating
Good loving

It's worked for us!
DH and I dated for 5 years before we married and we've been married for 12 years.

I credit a number of things for making it work. First, we both recognize that we are there because we want to be and now that we have our son we both agree we have another resposiblity to make it work.

We treat each other like we want to be treated. We give each other the benefit of the doubt, if we're short with one another we figure there is a reason and talk about it instead of getting defensive.

We put each other's needs first. If I know that he needs new underwear and I need new shoes and our money it tight I will encourage him to buy the underwear instead of telling him I need shoes. He, in turn will tell me to buy new shoes then we decide together which need is more immediate and go with the choice we make. That is such a simple way to put it but once we figured that part out (about a year into our marriage) boy, did things change and all for the better. I know he is there for me and he knows I'm there for him.

He is my biggest cheer leader and I'm his. We recognize the love runs in cycles. Our feelings for each other move from comfortable and loving to hot and heavy to butterflies and giddiness when we see each other. It has its seasons.

I also recognize that I'm his partner but I don't own him. He lives up to his responsiblities through his own self motivation. I don't sweat the small stuff and if I do my own thing towards nurturing our marriage and family life his motivation matches mine.

Oh, I also tell him everyday how much I love him. I also tell him I appreciate what he does. It's not calculated or manipulative -- I'm just honest with him when I feel it I tell him.

Geez, I've really gone on here. But, it all works for us so it might be worth a try for others.

One last thing we do as a family. Whenever we leave for the day we always kiss goodbye (and kiss Charlie, too). Whenever we come home we always make a big deal out of greeting each other and doing a quick catch up on how each other's day went. Charlie gets a big kick out of hugs and kisses when he gets home (dh takes him to my mom's everyday and I beat them home in the afternoon so I get to greet them when they come in).

I'm looking forward to other's suggestions!!!
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Oh, one other thing I can't believe I forgot.

We do not keep score. Let me repeat, we do not keep score.

Marriage is 50/50 but not all at the same time. If you add it all up at the end hopefully it will be about even but there have been many times that we've each carried 75% or more while the other one needed to take care of themselves.

I'm not in competition with him. He is my chosen life partner and I'm more than happy to take care of him because when I need it I know he will do the same for me.
hm...this is a tough one. i've been with my husband for 15 years, married for 6. the best advice i can give would be:

1. remember that you are on the same are partners, not adversaries
2. pick your battles. pick them wisely.
3. check in about things once in a while. make sure you're still on the same page about the big life decisions (where you want to live, what you think of your jobs) and also the little ones (do you still like that restaurant we go to, do you still like long drives in the car, etc)...
4. don't make assumptions, communicate clearly and openly.
5. hold onto the feelings you have now. do this by WRITING THEM DOWN NOW. seriously. on your wedding day write a page or so about each other. the bliss you feel now, the passion you feel now. keep it FOREVER. look at it when you start to forget and when him leaving his dirty socks on the kitchen table makes you wonder why the hell you're with him in the first place.
6. don't get complacent - you need to feed a fire or it will die. feed it with romance, humor, time, and creative energy.

good luck and congratulations!!

one book i recommend is: The Five Love Languages.

it's a really eye opening book, at least it was for me.
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I am not sure how applicable this is to everyone- DH and I met when we were 19 (him) and 17 (me). We dated from the end of my junior year of high school and his first year of college until graduate school when we got married (at 25 and 27). We grew up together and pushed each other's success. He is truly my favorite person in the world.

Anyway, some tips from our weird relationship:
*Let one another be who they really are- don't try to control them. Realize that they are smart and make good decisions. DH likes to play D and D with his friends each week. I don't. It doesn't matter that I don't get the game and that I could care less about it. It makes him happy and gives him a release, so I support that. I like to drink once in a while, he doesn't- same thing- he trusts me that I make good decisions.

*Have interests/friends outside of each other. This is really important for us. We both need to have "me" time.

*Don't exploit each other. When he cooks or cleans, I thank him, even though we take turns on such things. When I do, he thanks me. I don't commit him to doing things/ going places without his consent, he doesn't do that to me. We are both capable adults and treat each other as such.

*Find something every day that brings you together- we share a car, riding together gives us a lot of time to talk. Most weeknights, we cook dinner together- this is a nice way to decompress and spend time together

*Find a financial arangement that works for both of you. We both work- he makes about twice as much as me. He pays for twice as many bills as I do. We have always dealt with money based on a percentage of what we made so that we would each have "fun money". I know that this isn't possible for everyone, but I do not want to ever resent my husband over money- if he wants to spend $80 of his money on D and D books or a video game or guitar stuff that is totally his business. If I want to buy something or make a donation with my money, it is my business. We also have a joint account we started with money from wedding gifts and our tax returns that we use on "us" stuff- the house, vacations, theatre tickes, etc. I don't know how this would work if one of us worked in the home, but this has been a great arrangement thus far.

*Make one another feel attractive and invest in alone time

*Be open and honest no matter what.

I hope these are helpful!
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DH and I dated, 6 years before we got married, were married 8 years before we had kids, and have been together over 20 years now, so you'd think we'd have figured this whole relationship thing out! But it's really a work in progress.

I agree with the pp who said it's very cyclical, and there are times when things are good, and times when things are not so good. You need to learn to ride out the not so good times, and know that it will get better.

One piece of practical advice I always give is have separate bathrooms! Seriously when we finally moved into a place with 2 bathrooms things really improved. We have different standards of cleanliness, and time needed in the shower, etc., so each having our own bathroom resolved all of those problems.

A piece of advice that my mom gave me was: look really hard at your DH's father, and figure out whether or not you could live with his more annoying qualities. Her theory is that as men get older they get more and more like their fathers. In my case that has proven to be true, and I think it was good advice.
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First of all congrats!

I would say if you have been together this long, especially if you live together, it should be a piece of cake really. Of course there will be the few days/weeks where you will be like "Oh my God, we are MARRIED!!" and that will be really cool...but don't expect to get that piece of paper and suddenly everything changes. What you see is pretty much what you get, but that can be a great thing if you are happy and content in your relationship already.

Of course there are the financial aspects, whats yours is his (or hers?) and vice versa and all that, but you already know that.

I would just say compromise, respect, valuing eachother's thoughts, ideas, opinions, putting yourselves and your children above all others -- even other family members when it comes down to it is important too.

I think it basically comes down to working as a team in all things and knowing that you are only as strong as the weakest link so to speak.

Another poster put it well when they said that marriage is 50/50 but not all the time. Sometimes I carry more of the *weight* so to speak, sometimes hubby does, but the important part is at the end of the day it is a true partnership. I am not the boss of him, he is not the boss of me, we walk together...sometimes I lead when he stumbles, or when he wants/needs me too -- sometimes he takes the lead in situations where he is more knowledgable/capable/comfortable.

We try to get everything out on the table when we are upset. Nothing annoys me more or causing more resentment within a marriage (imo) than keeping things inside that upset you. That having been said though, we always attempt to be gentle with eachother and understanding and always keep in mind that words can be very powerful we make it a point not to yell, or belittle, or hurt the other when discussing issues (though no one is perfect of course!)

Trust is paramount in my opinion. Not just trust that my husband won't cheat (which is important too) but trust that he has mine and our daughter's best interest at heart. Trust that I can depend on him to be on time, or to follow through on a promise, or to make decisions in everyone's best interest -- and knowing that he can expect and recieve that same trust on my end.

Good luck to you!

Oh yeah and one thing I read a long time ago that hubby and I do every single day, rain or shine, no matter what is going on....

We give eachother a 30 second hug and a 10 second kiss (or little kisses that add up to 10 seconds lol)....

Of course we touch and cuddle and all that and have sex etc... but on those days where things are hectic, or time is short, or whatever... we ALWAYS at least do the 30 second hug and 10 second kiss.

It works, I'm tellin ya.
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My one piece of advice: Pick your battles. My best example is this: My DH comes from a real-butter-in-a-crystal-dish family. I come from a tub-o-margarine-with-toast-crumbs family. We fought (friendly-like) for a year about what our "Butter philosophy" was going to be before I realized:

Hey! We could have both!!!! And so we did, for years, before I converted to real butter. In a fancy crystal dish. With toast crumbs

It sounds trite, but I remember that in all kinds of dilemmas that we face.

The other thing that has saved us in every disagreement we've ever had is this: Whoever it matters to most, wins. This has gotten us through disagreements from what movie to rent, to whether we should move back to the midwest, and it has never failed us. Built on genuine respect and a sincere love of the other person, you can't go wrong.

Again, congratulations. Marriage is an amazing adventure, one you want your best friend with you for
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We're coming up on 5 years with the piece of paper, and 8 years total. Our marriage is very strong and happy!

My main advice is twofold:

1. There is no such thing as a psychic. Or at least, you aren't one and neither is your partner. If something worries you, upsets you, concerns you- if you need or just want something, SAY IT. Talk about it with your partner, and NEVER assume that they know what's going on with you unless you have explicitly (and I do mean EXPLICITLY, no hinting) talked to them about it. And no punishing your hubby for not 'knowing' why you were upset.

2. Always apologize. This is not to say that you should apologize for things that aren't your doing- but if you sit down and look HONESTLY at any conflict, you will find that there is virtually always some piece of it that is your fault. Maybe you snapped at your partner, maybe you weren't as patient as you should have been. Even if a conflict is 98% the other person and 2% you, own that 2% (and only that 2%- no martyring yourself to own your partner's crap, either). I find that honestly and sincerely (and yes, it must be sincere) apologizing for your part in an argument validates your partner's feelings and makes it more likely that they will own their part of the argument.

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

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Give 90% take 10%.

Fight naked
Read that somewhere years ago and thought it was hilarious

Have relations often
dh and I have found we get really cranky when we haven't been together recently
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I'll add one more. Try to avoid a situation in which both you and your dh are working at/from home. Too much togetherness can be as stressful as too little.
Two pieces of advice from my grandparents on their 50th anniversary:

1 - Eat a meal together everyday.

2 - Be polite to one another, even if you don't feel particularly fond of the other at that moment.
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