Ten Tips for my Dear Friends on the Day of Their Wedding
This is a short compilation of all of the best advice that I have to give on building a healthy marriage:
1. Talk. This is number one for a reason. Talk, talk, talk! Communication is so key to a good marriage. Honestly, there were times when I was nursing babies that I didn’t even want for my husband to touch me. Our physical relationship definitely had its dry spells, but we never, stopped communicating with one another. As long as you are honestly sharing your true feelings with each other, you can weather absolutely any storm.
2. Touch. Even small touches can be very valuable things, holding hands, or a pat on the back. Science talks about how important it is for babies, but we tend to neglect how important it is for grown-ups as well. Touch provides comfort and the simple reminder that we are not alone. Couples who show their physical affection often help to maintain a strong connection.
3. Build a clan. Some people have wonderful families that they keep close to, and some aren’t as fortunate. Whether or not you and your spouse have strong family support, build your own circle of friends. A good solid network of friends and family will help you to support your marriage.
4. Don’t complain about your wife or husband to your friends. This is one that has to be felt out very carefully. I rarely complain about my husband to my friends, not in a serious bitch-fest sort of way. I may talk about insignificant things that bother me. Things that we can laugh about together, but I don’t need to wine and complain about my husband to anyone. The action breaks down the bond of trust between partners. If my husband is doing something that is bothering me, I should be talking to him about it, not someone else.
5. Respect labels and refuse to abuse them. We do not label in our house. Some people do not understand the distinction. If my husband were really deeply upset with me, he might say that I was being a bitch, but he has never ever (aside from in a joking manner) called me a bitch. We have kids, so this is an important rule for our family, but even in couples the practice is very effective. When you can’t result to calling your spouse names in an argument, the issues actually get addressed in a much healthier way.
6. Understand that no marriage is perfect. There are going to be rough patches, there will be fights, tears, and probably some yelling along the way. Perfect marriages do not exist, and to expect that yours will be sets you up for failure from day one. What will define your relationship is how you choose to deal with the problems that come your way.
7. Do not keep secrets from your spouse. My husband and I subscribe to the mantra, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” You and your spouse are partners, that means that you are in this life together and if you hide something from your partner, it will fester. I find that being honest with my husband about really hard things, like my past mistakes or silly fantasies, strengthens our relationship every time that I share them.
8. Do the little things. Their impact is so immense. Making coffee for a spouse, leaving little notes, picking up random presents…all of these things remind your partner that they are the most important person in your world, and that they are always on your mind.
9. Practice active listening. Remember to be present when communicating with your partner and truly hear what they are trying to tell you. Communication is only half speaking; the other half is listening well. If you can’t commit the time and energy to concentrating on your spouse’s words, communication will break down.
10. Be grateful in every moment. You are lucky enough to have found a person who wants to help take on the world with you. Never forget what a special blessing that is, or neglect the precious gift that you have ben given. Like everything else worth having in life, you must put work into your marriage. It is worth every bit of effort that you put in. The rewards of a healthy marriage are immeasurable.