My sister recently tied the knot. Being the much older sibling that I am and having been in a relationship with the same man for twenty-two years, married for sixteen, I thought I should offer some marriage advice. Then I thought, why stop at just me – why not ask other women who have been married for many years what advice they would give? And that’s exactly what I did. The following passages are brilliant words of wisdom on marriage.
Me: Understand that as with all relationships marriage takes effort. Like a plant that will wilt without love and caring, so will a marriage. When you get mad it’s best to walk away until you calm down and then return and try to see each others point of view. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree. Always remember to use the words “I’m sorry.” and “thank you.” Recognize the good every day. Example: “Thank you for cooking dinner. Thank you for driving us home so late at night. Thank you for getting the laundry started.” Talk, talk, talk, and never assume.
J.P. : Find something to laugh about every day! Take a nightly walk with the dog to reconnect and catch up!!
K.M. : My parents always gave the advice – Don’t go to bed angry or with a dirty kitchen. We found that the clean kitchen was not a necessity but it’s nice. Realizing that my husband can’t read my mind has been a big one. I don’t hold him accountable for knowing what I’m thinking. I actually have to tell him.
L.M. : My favorite piece of advice that our pastor included in our marriage ceremony : “Start your own family traditions.”
J.B. : Preserve your ‘me’ time and support your spouse’s time with his buddies. I’ve discovered that going away for a week… alone … makes me a better person, wife, mother because I get to decompress, breathe, and find myself again. Moms tend to lose their own identities and couples sometimes too. My mother in law becomes very unhappy when I travel alone, and for a long time I felt guilty because it seemed selfish, but I’ve learned that by taking care of me and feeding my passions (after all, I’m the only one who adores art museums) makes me happier and far more patient and appreciative of everyone when I return. Plus, I’m pretty sure my hubby likes his Home Alone time too. No one makes him do chores!
M.T.N. : Communicate! Even when the conversation seems like it will be awkward or embarrassing. Starting the tough conversations is the hardest part but if you do it enough, it gets easier.
L.E.M. : Pray for each other every day, embrace each others culture and family traditions, cook together as often as you can. Love one another through all the mistakes (the little AND the BIG ones!) Redemption and forgiveness are amazing gifts you can give each other and make you love each other even more. Hug and kiss a lot.
C.C. : Laugh together every day. Begin and end each day with a kiss. The best part of having a spouse is having a true friend who knows you better than anyone else in the world for the rest of your life.
Men reading this post – feel free to add your point of view to marriage advice. When I asked Eric if he had anything to say… “Give your husband back rubs every day.” I added “And take lots of trips to Total Wine?” He smiled.