16 Tips for a Happy Marriage

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My brother (I just kind of adopted him years ago and so did my family) is getting married next weekend, and I am just tickled pink!! He is such an amazing man, and she is an equally amazing woman. They complement each other so well, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness that they both deserve.

I am by no means a relationship expert. I’m still young. I haven’t been married to the love of my life for 40 years. I’ve been divorced once through no fault of my own except marrying the abusive jerk in the first place. But I have learned through the example of my parents and grandparents, from the way my future mother-in-law talks about her late husband (my would-be father-in-law), by observing working relationships, by screwing up in several of mine, and finally through the love I share with Mr. Cozy Cottage. So I thought I’d share, and hopefully many others will agree.

To Parker and Ashley, I love you both very much, and I cannot wait to see the life you will create for each other.

  1. Listen to each other. You don’t have to agree on every topic, but listen to the other person’s point of view on every subject. If you’re wrong, apologize sincerely and without hesitation. If you’re right, shut your mouth and resist the urge to say, “I told you so.”
  2. In that same line of thinking, never go to bed angry. I don’t care if you’ve worked a 12 hours shift or the kids have been screaming all day, stay up and work it out until you come up with a solution or you pass out. Whichever comes first. Never start a new day with the problems of yesterday.
  3. Perfection is boring. He’s put on a few pounds. She snores at night. In a perfect world, we’d all stay slim and be able to get a decent night’s sleep without earplugs. But now you get to go shopping for more jeans together, and someday you’re going to wish the room wasn’t so silent.
  4. Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. So many of our own arguments have ended in laughter simply because we just got so stupid in our arguments. Sometimes a bad day can be cured with a funny joke or a tickle fight, as much as I’m reluctant to admit. When I’m mad, I want to stay mad. But I always feel so much happier and lighter after a good laugh.
  5. Never criticize or correct the other in public. It’s humiliating. And if you must do so, do it in private, but be kind. They likely already know they screwed up.
  6. Be honest. I’m not talking about the, “Of course that dress doesn’t make your rear end look big.” I’m talking about the every day stuff and the big stuff. If they ask for a sincere opinion, be honest. The truth may hurt, but, like the criticizing, do it kindly. I always tell Mr. Cozy Cottage, “Of course I’ll be upset if it’s something I don’t want to hear. But I’ll be absolutely furious if you’re not honest from the get-go.”
  7. Be best friends. That is why you married each other. You chose each other to be life partners, teammates.
  8. Constantly re-evaluate your relationship. What are it’s weaknesses? Where do you want to go from here? You don’t just say, “I do,” and live happily ever after. You both continue to grow long after the wedding day, and during every major change you will need to come up with a new battle strategy.
  9. Make do with what you’ve got. My father has always been a hard worker, bent and determined to give me and my mother everything we needed. My mother never asked for more than he gave, because he provided plenty. Mr. Cozy Cottage is the same way. We aren’t driving new vehicles. We aren’t living in the grandest house, and our furniture doesn’t match. For Pete’s sake, I turned a computer desk into a kitchen counter! But I don’t complain. He works hard to provide for me, and I’m grateful for all that he does.
  10. Don’t stop dating just because you’re married. Sure it’s more difficult when kids come along and life gets in the way, but never stop being gross and giving diabetes to those around you. Kiss, hold hands, wink at each other, share a milkshake, cuddle.
  11. Remember moments. Anniversaries and birthdays are important. Do whatever you have to do to remember them, and always do something to celebrate, even if you’re broke or have a busy schedule. The thought and time will count more than what you actually got them.
  12. Saying those three little words is important, but they’re worthless unless you back them up with actions.
  13. See other people. No, I do not mean have an affair. I mean have some friends! Meet a friend for coffee, let him go out and play with the boys. It’s healthy for both of you to have active social lives.
  14. Forgive. That’s all. Just forgive.
  15. Stick up for each other. I love watching my parents. They argue a lot because they are both so stubborn. But you can bet that if someone is messing with one of them, the other is right there to back them up. I love it!

And the biggest one…

16. COMMUNICATE. All the time. About everything. About nothing. About easy stuff and hard stuff, fun stuff and serious stuff, future plans and nostalgic moments. Just talk!!

I’m sure there are others out there that have some other advice. With my brother’s wedding next weekend, mine in October, and I know I have at least 2 other friends in relationships that are discussing marriage, feel free to let us in on your advice in the comments below!

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