Compare Wedding Insurance's 52 Top Marriage Tips
The wedding is over, the presents have been put away and thank you notes written – now what? Once the excitement of the festivities and the romantic honeymoon is over, the real work of marriage begins. And yes, it can sometimes be work no matter how much you love each other!
We've gathered some tips to help you keep things on track as you step into the “real world” of married life. Some are serious, some light-hearted, but all can help you remember exactly why you got married in the first place and what it is you love so much about your mate.
52 Top Tips
- 1. Money is one of the most frequent causes of marital friction. If you haven’t talked about it before the wedding, talk about it now. The sooner you establish a spending plan and agree on it, the more arguments you’ll avoid down the line.
- 2. Don’t assume all things have to be 50/50%. If you prefer balancing the checkbook and paying bills, but your spouse hates this and would rather be in charge of cleaning and scheduling appointments, that’s fine! It’s what works for you that is important.
"Always be willing to say, “I’m sorry,” & mean it."
Always be willing to say, “I’m sorry,” & mean it. Whether it’s something small like not putting the cap on the toothpaste or something larger, the apology is more important than the incident and will be remembered far longer.
- 4. Never make life decisions unilaterally. Even if the new car will be used by you, your spouse’s input should be listened to and considered. Set a limit (say, $100 / £50 or $500 / £250) and agree that neither of you will spend over that amount without consulting the other.
- 5. Allow yourself a sense of wonder in the little things and share them. Do you see a beautiful sunset while doing the dishes? Point it out to your spouse and share that brief moment of beauty.
- 6. Make conscious sacrifices. Let your “better half” choose the movie, the television show or the restaurant rather than always wanting to do it. Enjoy his or her pleasure.
- 7. Say “thank you” for little things as well as big things sometimes. He’ll appreciate hearing thanks for taking out the trash and she’ll love a “thank you” for dinner occasionally. We often feel the most “taken for granted” for doing the daily or weekly things.
- 8. Praise your mate’s good qualities or something he or she has done for you to others – but within earshot. There’s no boost to a man’s self-esteem like hearing his loved one tell her mother/sister/best friend what a great job he did painting the kitchen.
- 9. Don’t abandon your mate in unknown situations. At your office party/family reunion, stay close and introduce him/her with some complimentary information to bolster her self-confidence. (This is my wife, Nancy. She’s been doing a great job recently working on the school play as a fundraiser.) Devise a “signal” so that when you do part, she can let you know if she needs rescuing.
- 10. Surprises are good. It can be as small as a note in your spouse’s briefcase, an unexpected flower or making his favorite dessert.
"Maintain your sense of humour!"
Maintain your sense of humour!! If you can laugh when things get tough, you’ll be able to get through almost any crisis – remember to look for the absurd in any situation.
- 12. Never discuss important decisions when you’re angry. If the disagreement has reached the point of shouting or angry words, agree to table the discussion until you’ve both cooled off. Set a time and date to reopen the topic.
- 13. Pick your battles! If it isn’t all that important to you in the long run but your spouse sees it as a big issue – concede. By letting your spouse win on some issues that are dear to his or her heart, you are validating their feelings and letting them know they are more important than winning a fight. Don’t win the battle only to lose the war.
- 14. Keep things in perspective. Will this issue matter a week from now? If not, it’s probably not worth an argument or disagreement. If it’s only an annoyance, consider letting it slide – after all, you’re annoying sometimes, too!
- 15. Celebrate little occasions. Most couples will go out for dinner and celebrate a promotion or anniversary, but those can be few. Instead, make a pledge to celebrate events like finishing a project on time at work or the day you finish your last “thank you” note. By making small moments special, you’ll make the days an adventure.
- 16. Find one activity you both enjoy, whether it’s going to baseball games, golfing or watching classic movies, and make it a point to do it regularly together. A shared activity can give rise to many special moments and creates a common bond for conversation and something to look forward to together.
"Never bring up past mistakes in an argument."
Never, ever bring up past mistakes in an argument. It only escalates the emotional warfare and distracts both people from the topic at hand.
- 18. Marriage is a bond, but you should be on loose tethers – don’t hold on so tight that the other person feels smothered. If your spouse wants to go out and do some things without you, it’s not a reflection of the state of your relationship – he or she is simply being an independent individual.
- 19. Be willing and able to reassure your partner and be thoughtful of their concerns and worries. If you’re going to be late, call and let them know so that they won’t fret. When out with friends, although you shouldn’t have to, give a quick “just checking in,” call. It costs you nothing and will show you are considerate and thinking of them.
- 20. Don’t spoil your partner’s fun just because you can’t join in. A survey found that, especially at the holidays, married couples argued frequently over invitations to events. If you can’t meet her for your office Christmas party, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t go and have a great time without you. Just because you don’t want to attend the annual fundraiser that he loves, don’t expect him to stay home with you and forego the function.
- 21. Think before speaking. It sounds simple, but snapping out every critical thought that pops into your head is easy when you become comfortable with your mate. Make the effort to soften the delivery (“It would really help me if you could remember to take the trash out the night before since I’m so rushed in the morning. Thanks,” works so much better than, “You never take out the trash!”
- 22. The old adage, “Never go to bed mad,” doesn’t mean you have to solve the problem before you can go to bed! In fact, if the next day is a work day, you should agree to retreat at a reasonable time and shelve the discussion until a time that is better for both of you. Agree to disagree, remind each other you love each other, and go to bed in a state of truce.
- 23. Don’t discuss your personal problems with your family. Although it is tempting to tell your mother just how terrible your first fight was, resist. Long after you and your partner have made up and forgotten the issue, your mother will remember and view your spouse through different eyes.
- 24. Don’t expect your spouse to act the same around his or her family as he does around you. If your husband temporarily turns into a loud, boisterous buffoon with his brothers or your wife suddenly starts talking about nothing but the details of the latest family scandal, don’t panic. They will return to their normal selves as soon as the family event is over – this is a bonding ritual for them.
- 25. Put annoying habits into perspective. He bites his nails? She twiddles her hair? These will be the same habits you’ll miss when he or she is gone, so accept them and forget it.
- 26. When arguing, stick to the topic at hand. Remember, if you disagree about something, you should address their point of view, not them personally. Don’t use insults or insinuate that your partner is somehow “stupid” or bad just because they disagree with you.
"Have one hobby each that is separate from your partner."
Have one hobby each that is separate from your partner and enjoy it regularly. Maintaining separate interests means you won’t rely completely on your spouse for entertainment, which can be draining and a real burden.
- 28. Support your spouse’s outside interests whole-heartedly. Ask questions about their hobbies, volunteer work and other activities. Showing an interest in all aspects of their life apart from you will not only show you care, but give you the chance to learn more about your spouse as the years go by.
- 29. Allow decompression time at the end of the day. Whoever is home first shouldn’t wait at the door to jump their spouse with a list of chores or a bunch of questions. Give him or her a half-hour to simply unwind from the stresses of the day.
- 30. Ask, ask, ask!! Trying to guess what is on your spouse’s mind is a recipe for disaster. Ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers.
- 31. Answer all questions, and be specific. If your husband asks you what you want for your birthday – tell him! Don’t expect him to “know” that you’d like to go to the theater. Tell him you want to go and mention the show you want to see by name.
- 32. Continue to date. After a few months or years of marriage you can easily get into a routine that doesn’t include special evenings out of the house and away from bills, leaky faucets and other concerns. Make sure you go out and pretend you’re still dating – dress up, put on perfume, woo each other.
- 33. Tell your spouse you love him or her every day. You can never say it too much and it will give them a safe, secure feeling knowing your love is something they can rely on.
- 34. Remember to compliment, and often. You may think it’s obvious that if you married her, she must know how attractive you find her – not true! One compliment makes up for ten put-downs.
- 35. Never interrupt your spouse in front of others.
- 36. Plan well ahead for the holidays and any other time when a conflict may come up about sharing family time, then present a united front. Don’t say, “Robert wants to spend Christmas day with his folks, so we’ll see you the night before.” Instead say, “We’ve decided we’ll go to Robert’s parents Christmas day, but we’ll be over all day on Christmas Eve.”
- 37. Don’t correct your spouse in front of others over little things in front of others (the details of a story, what day you went to the theater). Details are unimportant, and you run the risk of treating him or her like a child when you spend your time correcting him.
- 38. Money matters! Be honest and set guidelines as soon as possible. Discuss spending limits for both spouses and what the limit is for big-ticket purchases you can make without consulting the other.
- 39. Have a separate checking account for each individual for personal purchases that isn’t accountable to the other person and decide how much each will contribute to the joint account if both of you work. If only one works, be sure to have an account for that person as well that is only for their use.
- 40. Don’t spring big changes or surprises on your spouse. If you’re thinking of leaving your job, going back to school or anything else that will affect you both, discuss it before making any decisions. Yes, it’s your life – but you’re in a partnership now!
- 41. Plan for sex. This sounds terribly unromantic, but if you’re both busy people it can ensure that you don’t let your sexual life fall by the wayside. And if you know that every Thursday evening is “the night,” it can become a powerful aphrodisiac just looking forward to it all day.
"A day or two apart can be very healthy for a relationship."
A day or two apart can be very healthy for a relationship. You’ll remember how much you appreciate your spouse and come back refreshed after a few days with your girlfriends.
- 43. If your spouse has complained about his or her family, respect their confidences and don’t use anything said as a weapon against them in the future.
- 44. If you have a choice between making yourself look good and making your spouse look good, choose your spouse!
- 45. Never use the word “Divorce” casually. It harbors a feeling of instability and insecurity and will lead to a feeling that you aren’t in it for the long hall.
- 46. Don’t compare your marriage to past relationships. There is no comparison, and you will cheapen the uniqueness of the bond you two share if you throw up comparisons to past involvements.
- 47. Present a united front in front of others on important issues, even if you disagree in private. You will come to be seen as a team and be respected for your solidarity.
- 48. Never forget to introduce your spouse to your friends whenever they are around. They may be your friends and you may be in a hurry, but she is your wife and should always be treated with respect.
"Friends first, Lovers second!"
Friends first, lovers second. Don’t expect sex to carry you through the long years of marriage when there will be highs and lows. Sex is important, but talking, sharing and leaning on one another as real friends will last longer and form a stronger bond.
- 50. Take pride in your partner’s work, whatever it is. Whether it is maintenance man or cashier, if your spouse does it well and is honest reliable, every job is just as important as CEO of the company. Take pride in their work ethic, how hard they work and their desire to take care of you.
- 51. Don’t try to change your spouse into somebody else now that you are married. If you pretended to like his wardrobe or her friends before the marriage thinking to change things now that the vows have been said, forget it! You professed to love them for who they were – you have no right to change them if you love them.
- 52. Above all, wake up each morning and remember how lucky you are to have a loving partner to share your life with. And every night, let him or her know that you still feel that way before going to sleep. It’s a wonderful way to end their day!
Why not pass these tips onto your married friends - if you dare!!
10th February 2011