Sunday, October 23, 2011

Give some more advice...

Here's the scenario: someone you love has just gotten married or is serious about someone. They ask you for the best advice you have about keeping their relationship happy/healthy. What do you say?

Me? I'm no expert, but I can only say what works for us.

1) It is FINE to go to bed angry. This bullshit about not ever letting the sun go down on your anger is ridiculous. It is NOT better to stay up all night screaming at each other. Call a temporary truce and sleep on it. Things really do look better in the morning. of you has done something truly awful, like cheated (and just been found out), etc. Then, yes...stay up until the injured party feels as if they can sleep under the same roof with you for at least one night.

2) It isn't necessary to love the same things, but be supportive of things that matter to your spouse/partner. Listen when they talk about a book they are reading that they love or a workout routine that they've just discovered.

3) Present a team face to outsiders. No matter what. NEVER side with your family against him or her and vice versa. You may not agree with them, but stand by them. Argue at home about it, not in front of friends or family.

4) You are NEVER going to change another person. All you can change is you and your reaction.

5) Do not call each other by your pet names in public. It is nauseating. It is like showing your vacation photos at holiday gatherings or having your child entertain the family with her rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" at a dinner party. NOBODY THINKS THIS IS CUTE EXCEPT YOU AND YOUR PARTNER.

Any other words of advice. might be easier to think of it this way:

If you could give your just committed self some good advice what would it be?


heartinsanfrancisco said...

Always put the relationship before your individual wants. It's worked for us.

MB Partlow said...

My bff said this, and I immediately recognized it as great wisdom. Never say anything about your partner to a 3rd party that you wouldn't say to their face.

It's simple, but sometimes getting along is as simple as knowing when to keep your mouth closed.

Vinita said...

Never air grouses about spouses or partners while pretending to play a game of 'ask a question'. Yep, and in the car, too - no escape for either her husband or us (mere acquaintances).

the cuby poet said...

If the relationship is good then put above anything else in the world.

JohnD said...

Married life is like a ship at sea - sometimes its smooth sailing and sometimes its a storm - but the "crew" must always work together to be able to share the good times.

Earth Muffin said...

I love your advice and all of the above comments too. Good stuff!

I'll add the following...

1. Don't do anything in the first year that you aren't prepared to do for the rest of your life...except in the bedroom. When it comes to sex, do everything in the first year that you aren't prepared to do the rest of your life.

2. You aren't just marrying/committing to the person you've fallen in love with, you are marrying/committing to being a part of their whole family, warts an all. This one is not exactly rocket science, but I've seen friends really get burned by this one...not realizing just how invasive and all-encompassing family can be sometimes. It's just a good thing to keep in the back of one's head all the time.

Zebsmom said...

My best advice is you are getting married, not attached by the hip. Don't give up the things you love, even if he/she doesn't like it, and by all means don't ever lose yourself in the process. To many get married and forget who they are. Remember who you are and stay true to it, besides isn't that who so and so fell in love with anyway!!

Fusion said...

If you could give your just committed self some good advice what would it be?

If you mean go back in time and give yourself advice before marriage it would have been:

Don't compromise who you are or your convictions for someone else. Don't marry until you've had sex enough times to know if your compatible together.

Those two would have changed my life had I followed them...

Redbone210 said...

When I was a child, a neighbor who was married to her husband for 50 yrs told my mother their secret...

don't see everything, don't hear everything and don't know everything.

Kept them happy and in love for 50 years and more.

Anonymous said...

okay... i have no advice... only another question: how do you know this person is "the one"? the one worth making all those sacrifices for?

i actually took this advice to heart and more or less disinvited an old and important friend to a holiday event so that my BF could be more comfortable. i feel very mixed about that, to say the least.

i was trying to put the relationship first but somewhat feel i am prostituting my values in the name of partnership.

that's one version... i have my more evolved version but... well, i'm just not damn sure.


i keep thinking about the advice to junior high self, too...

and honestly, here's another problem: i have often been the one to reach out to people... then and now... and i encourage my daughter to do the same.

but lately, in a variety of situations, i'm trying to NOT do that because i have spent a lifetime over-extending myself.

when am i NOT responsible for someone with social problems?

i have a lot of social skills and i can connect with anyone and make more anyone feel comfortable.

but is that my job?

i can take on the "job" of helping the friendless or isolated or lonely people feel less so... but is that my job? and does doing that actually meet my personal needs where friendsship is concerned? i assure you the answer to the last question is no.

so... i might tell my junior high self that it's okay to be selfish sometimes.

sigh. i don't know.

i feel mixed up and guilty for having opposite feeligns of the other readers...

but tis so.

and honestly, when your adolescence is about death and complexity of family... all the other stuff just does not feel that big.

or maybe i'm crazy.

or maybe not.

i certainly am grumpy today!


Echo said...

There will be disagreements (or arguments, or fights-- whatever it is you call them in your relationship)-- just because you disagree doesn't mean your relationship is faulty. And just this morning I was listening to some NPR and heard a gentleman on The Moth say that his grandfather always told him that the difference between good marriages and bad marriages was this: in good marriages you have the same fight over and over again for years-- in bad marriages you find something new to fight about every evening.

Jamie said...

I always tell the couple to take the Love Languages quiz online... find out what language you speak, what your partner in crime speaks, and make it an active part of your relationship together.

jen@its all about me said...

Never ever fight in front of your kids if you plan to have any or if you have kids from previous relationships.

It will harm the kids in ways you can't even imagine. Plus you run the additional risk of harming the parent/partner-child relationship as well.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've read with great interest the comments since mine, and would like to clarify that in putting the relationship first I most definitely did not mean at the expense of close friends or being ones own self. I was just advising that compromise trumps selfishness, and that most disagreements don't really matter beyond a short time.

Giving up ones need to always be right has its own rewards and is even a relief sometimes. And saying "I'm sorry" does not necessarily mean "I was wrong." It just helps both parties to move on to a healing place beyond the pain of discord.

Anonymous said...

congrats to Liv! have a great season. I know that gives you a lot of relief - she will continue to fall into her own circle of friends!

kristi said...

I think it is unrealistic to say never argue in front of the kids. Kids need to know parents are not perfect. I have seen many kids devastated that their parents "perfect marriage" fell apart. No marriage is perfect.

My advice would be that some days you love your spouse and other days you loathe them. It is natural. But if you feel like you are better off without them, maybe it is time to make a change. And happiness is not always going to be there, it comes and goes. After 17 years I can attest to that!

creative-type dad said...

Don't have kids until you're both on the same page about how you're going to raise and discipline them.

Have similar views and spending habits on money.