Friday, February 8, 2013

Love advice from a 3.5-year-wed

Lets be honest...I feel a bit awkward offering words of wisdom about love and marriage. Only being married for 3 1/2 years doesn't exactly make me an expert. I have no doubt Clint and I are in this thing called marriage for the long haul and in the spirit of lovey-Valentines season, I think it quite important to share some of my thoughts on love...and mostly others' thoughts on love that I find helpful.

Some of the best advice comes from Lydia Netzer in here article 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years: comments are in [ ]

1. Go to bed mad...Shut up, go to bed, let your husband get some sleep. In the morning, eat some pancakes. Everything will seem better, I swear.

[This is true for me for sure. Things always seem more depressing and gloomy at the end of an unproductive day. Tomorrow I am a better person, so I should save my discussions for tomorrow]

2. Laugh if you can...

[This one doesn't work for me...for some reason it just makes me more furious...but it may work for you and it's worth a try!]

3. Don't criticize. Ever.

[This one I need to work on the very most]

4. Be the mirror...Be a mirror that reflects something positive: you're smart, you're successful, you're fantastic in the sack, you're a great provider, you're the best. Can you MAKE him any of these things just by telling him he is? I don't know, but consider this: the alternative really sucks.

[And this one I need to work on the second most]

5. Be proud and brag...Let your spouse hear you talking about them in glowing terms to other people. Be foolish. Be obvious. It will mean everything. You will stay married forever.

6. Do your own thing...Dan races bicycles. I write books. I don't race bicycles or have any desire to race bicycles. He doesn't write books, nor does he even read the books that I write. Seriously. And I don't care. My opinion is that he's the fastest, coolest most awesome bike racer ever. His opinion is that I'm the bestest, coolest writer ever. Doing your own thing, having your own friends, being completely insanely passionate about something that the other person has no idea, really, about, is awesome. It allows your spouse to be your cheerleader, uncomplicated by knowledge or personal investment. And it means you'll always have stuff to talk about, because you're not overlapping all the time. You don't have to read the same books either. You don't have to have the same friends.

[This bit of advice was like a glorious weight lifted off my shoulders. For some stupid reason, all the pre-marriage advice you receive is splattered with warnings like "make sure you're compatible" which translates into "make sure you like to do all the same things all the time". I would look at couples who did literally everything together and think What the heck is wrong with us? But here's what I have learned in 3.5. years: 1. Nothing is more important than your marriage so nothing should get in the way of marriage being #1 and, 2. Major family goals and values should line up. Everything else doesn't have to be a major family activity.]

7. Have kids...Kids stop you from being as crazy as you want to be. Because when you have kids, you can't be that crazy.

8. Get really good at sex...There's absolutely no excuse for letting years drag on without becoming fully skilled, gifted sex partners for each other.

[Nuf said]

9. Move...Live in different houses. In different parts of the country. Travel. Make it so that you can look back and divide up your life into the years you spent in different cities, or different houses. If you're feeling stuck geographically or physically, you can confuse yourself into thinking you're stuck romantically...Don't worry about "growing apart." Be brave and evolve. Become completely different. Don't gather moss. Stagnation is unattractive.

[This one makes a lot of sense to me. I ask Clint everyday if he wants to move :) ]

10. Stop thinking temporarily...Marriage is not conditional. It is permanent. Your husband will be with you until you die. That is a given.

[If I could offer any advice I know to be true, it would be this. I had this bit of advice engraved on my heart before we said "I do". If you approach marriage as a conditional arrangement, you're doing it wrong]

11. Do not put yourself in trouble's way...Leave your ex-boyfriends and girlfriends alone. I'm sure you're very trustworthy. Aren't we all? The thing is, there's absolutely no reason to test it. Your husband and your marriage are more valuable than any friendship. Any friendship that troubles the marriage should be over immediately. Protect it with knives and teeth, not because it's fragile but because it's precious. Don't ass around with a "hall pass" or a "harmless flirtation." Adultery isn't an event, it's a process with an event at the end. Don't put your feet on a path that could lead someplace bad.

[Couldn't say this one any better]

12. Make a husband pact with your friends...The husband pact says this: I promise to listen to you complain about your husband even in the most dire terms, without it affecting my good opinion of him. I will agree with your harshest criticism, accept your gloomiest predictions. I will nod and furrow my brow and sigh when you describe him as a hideous ogre. Then when your fight is over and love shines again like a beautiful sunbeam in your life, I promise to forget everything you said and regard him as the most charming of princes once more. The husband pact is very useful because you want to be able to vent to your friend without having her actually start hating your husband. Because you don't really mean all those things you say. And she, the swearer of the pact, knows this.

[I think this one would work great for lots of people. I, on the other hand, don't really complain about Clint to my friends. I mostly complain to Clint about Clint so there is obviously room for improvement here folks]

13. Bitch to his mother, not yours...His mother will forgive him. Yours never will.

14. Be loyal...All the crap you read in magazines about honesty, sense of humor, communication, sensitivity, date nights, couples weekends, blah blah blah can be trumped by one word: loyalty. You and your spouse are a team of two. It is you against the world. No one else is allowed on the team, and no one else will ever understand the team's rules. This is okay...Loyalty means you put the other person in your marriage first all the time, and you let them put you first. Loyalty means subverting your whims or desires of the moment to better meet your spouse's whims or desires, with the full understanding and expectation that they will be doing the same. This is the heart of everything, and it is a tricky balance. Sometimes it sways one way and sometimes the other. Sometimes he gets to be crazy, sometimes it's your turn. Sometimes she's in the spotlight, sometimes you. Ups and downs ultimately don't matter, because the team endures.

[I think this is my favorite advice tidbit. ever.]

15. Trust the person you married...For two people who are trying to help each other, it can almost be harder to let the other person help you than it is to be the one who's helping. It can be harder to let the other person deflect the fight than to be the one deflecting. It can be harder to believe that your husband is fully committed to a lifetime of marriage than to commit yourself. Harder to change yourself than to let the other person change. Harder to be loved than to love. Weird, but true. I'm saying this to everyone who's newly married, and to myself: trust that person. Love them completely and let them love you. If it all goes to seed, it's going to hurt either way. Better to have gone into it full throttle. Full throttle marriage is a thrilling ride.

Lydia, you said it! Let's all get our love on!


  1. wow! Awesome post- I probably need to pick read up on this article! Good stuff and thanks for posting even though you don't feel like an authority! LOVE

  2. I think #10 is HUGE. Even though a lot of people think I'm old-fashioned/prudish for saying so (even though it has nothing to do with sex!), I always say it's better NOT to live together before you get married - because once you're married, there's no backing out, so you learn to make it work. Before that, things that shouldn't be deal-breakers can turn into them because you still have that temporary mindset of "just dating". Just my opinion, of course, but I think that telling yourself "This is forever" can help you get your priorities in order. Thanks for your post!

    1. Courtney...So true! I graduated in Psychology and we discussed the divorce rate of married couples who lived together prior to marriage vs married couples who did not, and the former had much higher divorce rates. It seems silly to many to not "try out" living together before marriage, but it seems like for many people, not living together before marriage actually lends to the marital success in some way!

  3. 2. Laugh if you can, for me anyway is the best advice ever! Not just in marriage, but in life! Some may think I'm looney, (what's funny about that?) but that lifetime habit is firmly fixed. If I couldn't laugh, I'd cry and who wants that?
    13. Bitch to his mother, not yours...needs a sub:
    Become a close friend and confidant of his/her mother.
    Otherwise this might not work. I did that once and she didn't speak to me for two years!
    It was nice. (insert chuckle)
    And BTW, Hi! It worked! Thanks!
    Love you a bunch

  4. So cute! Love the tips. We all can work on them, no matter how long we've been married. I'm going on 13 years this year and I still have lots of work to do...

    1. Deborah! Yes marriage is a lot of work! But so worth it!

  5. I made a New Year's resolution not to nag, and to have a nice tone of voice ALL THE TIME. The tone of my home, has completely changed. Not that I don't get completely frustrated, but they deal with my concerns differently, because they KNOW I'm upset when I come to them and say "Guys, I'm upset".
    I think I'll buy this book.

    1. Tasha...that is such a good idea! I feel like if I picked my battles more, Clint would listen up when I was really mad. Great advice!


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