A couple weeks ago, I posted the Worst Marriage Advice I Ever Got. Today, I'd like to share the Best Marriage Advice I Ever Got. Some people really do know what advice is universal, and what can be applied to every relationship. These are the three best pieces of advice I received, and what I give to every couple looking at tying the knot:
"Start your own traditions"- Forget what your mom did, or his mom
did, or whatever. Keep what you like, discard the rest, and start your
own. It helps you bond as a couple and, quite simply, makes you both
This can apply to several aspects of your relationship: you don't have to cook what his mom cooked, and you don't have to clean like your mom cleaned. You don't have to go on the same kind of vacations and you don't have to make the same goals. This is YOUR life together now, and it doesn't matter what anybody else's vision of it is.
Of course, you might want to keep some of your parents' traditions. These multi-generational traditions can be sweet memories for everybody involved. And don't throw something away flippantly just because you want to be different. But realize that just because your family had pot roast every Sunday, you don't have to. The important part of the meal was that you were all together, right? Go crazy. Have salmon. Or chicken. Or peanut butter sandwiches.
Oh, and don't forget: You can pick up a tradition after you've dropped it. Learning to adjust to another person, early marriage finances and a whole slew of other things can cause traditions to fall through the cracks. That's okay. There's no law that says Thou Shalt Never Skip A Year Sending Christmas Cards. A tradition isn't set in stone- it's an overall feeling.
"Kids change your relationship, be prepared for it"- Oh, boy, is this
true. I can't say that kids makes it either "better" or "worse" but it is
definitely "different" and if you spend your whole life trying to
recapture the pre-baby-days, you'll be miserable.
Be ready for the change (as best you can- there's really no way to prepare 100% for this) and embrace it when it comes. Find ways to make the baby days special, and find a groove that fits your parenting style. Wishing that this stage of your life would just be over so you can get to the good part is folly. Someday, you will miss the baby days, or the terrible twos... okay... maybe not that. But the cute two year old tushy? Yes, that you will miss. Don't wish it away.
Even once the kids are
out of the house, you're never really "done" being a parent. Kids (and teens, I imagine) change who you are at a fundamental level. I am a different person because I am a mother. My husband is a different man because he is a father. And that's okay. We accept the changes and keep communication open so that we can change and evolve together.
"Show him you love him every day"- Whether you say it out loud, kiss
for real (not the typical goodbye-peck), do a kind thing, have sex,
whatever, you need to be sure to connect in a romantic way every single
day. It's too easy to let one day become two, and two become ten and ten
become thirty... and then there's a gaping space between you.
I've been very lucky that my husband hasn't had to travel for work, and he's entering a line of work that means he will likely never travel extensively. This isn't the case for many, many couples, and I know this daily-show-of-affection is more difficult in those cases.
Still, I think it's some of the best advice out there. Quick emails, text messages, phone calls and skype calls can work wonders to keep you in synch as a couple.
What's the best marriage/relationship advice you ever heard?